By Arthur Connor

Lowman Concert Hall, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 9
Parvati Mani, piano
Music of Brahms, Scriabin and Rachmaninoff

As an incentive to celebrate the warmer weather recently, the Idyllwild Arts Academy faculty gave the community ample opportunity this past Thursday evening with a carefully selected program of late Romantic piano music, as provided by a very capable piano pedagogue in the person of Parvati Mani. The rather spacious confines of Lowman Hall proved a sonorous environment, and a small group of interested IAA students and patrons were in attendance to hear that well-balanced auditory offering.

The six pieces of Johannes Brahms’ Klavierstucke, Opus 118 proved a worthy introduction to the talents of the performer, as well as the aural capabilities of the concert venue.

Ms. Mani’s students would be well-advised to observe her legato technique, in addition to her sureness of pedal application. The softer passages of the pieces came forth with the requisite exactness of purpose, in addition to the forcefulness of the forte sections, creating what this listener would pose as the composer’s exact intentions for these late works as a nostalgic commentary on his Schumannesque beginnings as a virtuoso pianist.

Similarity of purpose was also evident in the remaining two selections of the program: the Sonata #2, Opus 19 of Alexander Scriabin came forth as a transitional work between the composer’s early and late periods, with particular forcefulness in the concluding movement. And in the evening’s finale, the Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Opus 42 of Sergei Rachmaninoff (which actually is not Corelli’s theme), Ms. Mani effected a similar balance between the virtuoso sections and the more contemplative reworkings of the “La Folia” theme.

The assembled audience was more than appreciative of all three works, with resounding applause following each of them, and one could only have wished that more people had filled more of the seats to hear such a masterful interpretive performance as this was.