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One of the great talents among the young pianists of today -who I am frequently an regularly concerned with, not only as an active music critic but also as pedagogue and teacher of masterclasses- of these great aspirants, Vladimir Valdivia ranks among the top players. Vladimir Valdivia is a technically perfect piano player, musically he is diversified as well as impulsive, an he also has a precise feeling for the inherent character of each composition.

STUTTGART 25 February 2000 WILHELM RIEKERT - Stuttgarter Zeitung

Vladimir Valdivia plays at Neugebauer’s Evening

Leonberg - The Peruvian pianist Vladimir Valdivia gave an appealing piano soiree on Friday evening in Dr. Klaus Neugebauer’s premises where he presented a very varied programme. He emphasised his special ambition in the animated speech he addressed to the enthusiastic listeners at the end of the concert. The artist said his main concern was to draw the attention of local audiences to the little-known composers of South America. He emphasised how highly he regards an unmistakeable musical talent for composition which provides the performer with the opportunity of interpretation against the background of a music industry constantly aiming at perfection and, consequently, one which is approaching conformity. He then offered works by two of these little-known masters in his concert. In Caracas (Venezuela), Moises Moleiro is active as a professor of the piano. The rapid pace of his Sonatina in A-Minor had much in common with the elements of the European sonata tradition in the 18th century. He elegantly develops his tempo-varied patterns, the motifs of which have no compulsive influence upon the pattern of the composition as a whole. The composer broadens the work with the counter-rhythms of his homeland and thereby enriches its impressive vitality. Valdivia plays this wild scamper over the keyboard with appropriate verve. Other examples of his interpretation are to be found in the Toccata in B-minor by Antonio Tauriello. His works included an opera together with orchestral- and chamber music, piano concerts and compositions for percussion instruments and he allowed some of this extensive treasure of experience to flow into the Toccata Elements. In this work, Vladimir Valdivia revealed his enormous technical capability. Expressively and temperamentally, he ignited a firework for the piano. This artist is happy to express a slight hesitation before delivering the “releasing” harmonising chords. He particularly used this effect in the stormy Polonaise Op. 53 in A-flat Minor by Frederic Chopin. Above all else, his feeling for the final rhythms of all the compositions played is to be noted. His touch is talented and very finely balanced. He uses it to concentrate his intensive, fiery and careful interpretation of the piece. Valdivia approaches the “Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue” by Bach in a romantic manner with emphasised use of the pedals. In one of his four encores the purpose of his interpretation was clearer. The very successful evening concert was enlivened by the wonderfully developed and gripping plaintiveness and colourful harmonics of the Spanish Dance “Oriental” by Granados. Or, by bravura in the proud Grandezza and by the impulsive expression used in the “Asturias” by Albeniz.


Somewhere between Contemplation and Virtuosity

Ismaning - In 1717 a Prince-Bishop of Freising had the Schloss Ismaning built as a summer residence and today this provides the most beautiful and intimate Concert Hall in the Munich region. But even the castle concerts arranged by Paul Eigendorf had their special quality. This era is now over, the evening of piano playing by Vladimir Valdivia being the last of those Ismaning concerts carrying the imprint of Eigendorf. He not only sought out the soloists but also counselled and guided them to deliver concert programmes that provided an opportunity for them to display their special talents. This was clearly the case with the piano evening given by Vladimir Valdivia from Peru. He did not commence with Mozart but, rather, with the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue by Bach because this piece presents an unusual and at the same time noteworthy Bach composition. In playing this work Valdivia placed the emphasis upon his capacity for improvisation and thereby revealed both poetry and reflection in his virtuosity. It was both unbelievably beautiful and really exciting. Valdivia then played four impromptus Op. 90 by Schubert in a very musical manner full of virtuosity. Anyway, the “popular” pieces of music about which Leopold Mozart repeatedly reminded his son were not neglected at all. Then came the very well known Spanish Dance No. 5 by Granados, “Liebestraum” by Liszt, the much-loved Nocturne Op.9, No. 2 and the even more well-known and admired Polonaise Op 53 by Chopin, followed by “Asturias” by Albenez - a typical summer programme in what used to be a summer residence. Finally, however, Valdivia treated us to items from South America, a sonatina by Moleiro from Venezuela, and a breath-taking and beautifully composed toccata played with great virtuosity and written by the Argentinean composer Tauriello. That was precisely what the audience at the Ismaning Schloss expected from a South American pianist appearing under the aegis of Eigendorf. When, as one of his encores, Valdivia improvised upon Peruvian folklore melodies, the pleasure provided by an evening of piano music that embraced both reflection and virtuosity was perfect.


Wonderful Sound from South America
The pianist Vladimir Valdivia performs in the Mozartsaal in Stuttgart

Where Mozart would be satisfied with the term “allegro”, Beethoven adds the word “brio” just as he uses “molto” in association with “adagio” while the concluding “allegretto” is further enhanced with “prestissimo”. We are talking about Mozart’s Piano Sonata B-Major (KV 570) of 1789 and Beethovens “Waldstein Sonata” Op 53 which appeared fifteen years later. The Peruvian pianist Vladimir Valdivia contrasted these two music pieces with one another in the first half of his piano evening in the Mozartsaal. On this occasion, the comparison favoured Mozart. Glass-clear pearls of runs, finely rounded phrases, a delicate piano, stable tempo and a successful hint of the latent orchestral colours distinguished Valdivia’s rendering of Mozart while in Beethoven’s Sonata Op.53 one could have wished for a more “evocative” form and more analytical clarity.
In the second part of the programme, in addition to works by Enrique Granados and Franz Liszt, Valdivia presented piano music by South American composers who are rarely if ever heard in concert halls. He brilliantly produced the atmosphere of Granados’ “Escenas Romanticas” and succeeded in playing Liszt’s “Liebesstraum” and “Les Cloches de Geneve” from Wanderjahre, Part 1 in a faultless, concentrated and poetical manner. He was then completely in his own element with the three preludes Op. 4, the nocturne Op.16 and the Etude Op. 23 of the Peruvian composer Alejandro Bisetti. All these works were written in the fifties and having a style somewhere between Chopin, Rachmaninov and the South American idiom - examples of uncompromisingly imitative music at the highest level and which while by no means exhibiting any originality, nevertheless, do have something to say. The same comment applies to the fulminatingly presented Sonata in A-Minor of the Venezuelan Moises Moleiro which was reminiscent of Scarlatti, a tarantelle whirlwind of clearly articulated tone as well as to the impetuous dissonances of the Toccata by the Argentinian Antonio Tauriello which owed much to Debussy and Bartok. Valdivia played these with rhythmic elan, storming over the keys. Fine shades of tone and meditative contemplation produced a magic effect in the Andante from Bach’s F-Minor Konzert and provided a restful interlude before other encore items by Debussy, de Falla and Liszt. Valdivia concluded with a virtuosity-packed interpretation of Villa-Lobos’ Polichinelle and was rewarded with enthusiastic applause.

Stuttgarter Zeitung 30/11/1999

Between Reverie and Romantic Magic
The pianist Vladimir Valdivia entertains in the piano factory Pfeiffer

LEONBERG - The pianist Vladimir Valdivia born in Lima, Peru in 1971 - and a graduate of the famed piano class of Prof. Ludwig Hoffmann at the Munich Musical Academy - gave a richly-varied concert in the well-attended Concert Hall at the piano factory Pfeiffer on Saturday. Valdivia began his concert with Bach. In the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue he succeeded in giving the impression of improvising in dealing with the toccata-like upbeat that constitutes of the predominantly unisonous passages. The rapid ascending- and descending scales with the broken chords were effectively developed. Scarlatti’s Sonata in C- Major also achieved a tonal beauty of meaning in Valdivia’s precise rendering. The fanfare-like triadic theme and the horn quints were aroused to boisterous life. Both neck-breaking octave jumps and effective glissandos contributed to this. In Mozart’s Adagio in H-Minor Valdivia fully exploited Bach’s affinity for lyrical melancholy. The simple theme carrying dissonant accents was presented as a sharp contour. The motifs running above the monotonous beating sixteenths opened out into a legato-based very comforting D-Major melody. The marked change from B-Minor to B-Major in the coda was especially reminiscent of Schubert. Finally, Mozart’s Sonata KV 570 was correctly treated by Valdivia as representing the later style and presented without any ornamentation. His musical performance captivated by means of cleverly motivated formulae. The music flowed along in a beautiful secret innocence, unspoiled by sentiment and anguish. Valdivia clearly accentuated the principal theme of the first movement as a disrupted, lyrical, rising and falling, legato-based, triad in B-Major. The concluding Rondo-Finale truly breathed the spirit of Haydn. With a polished touch Valdivia summoned up the coda by an accentuated reduced seventh chord. After the interval he proved himself to be an acknowledged interpreter of Chopin. Both the two Nocturnes - Op. 27 No. 2 and Op. 62 No. 1 - and the two waltzes in B-Major and A-flat-Major breathed nobility and brilliant technical mastery. The fact that Valdivia is also predominantly an outstanding interpreter of Liszt was made evident by the Ballarde in B-Minor and the Funerailles, these works being marked by pronounced virtuosity. Vivaldi’s rendering of the Liebestraum No. 3 in which at first one voice and then later the voices of both the lovers could be clearly recognised was equally impressive. Finally, Valdivia gave us his interpretation of Debussy’s Prelude “Feu d’Artifice”. The arpeggio-chains and the cadence passages together with the octaves burst forth as if they were fireworks. As an encore, the artist who received much applause played “Widmung” from Schumann-Liszt, an Indian Fantasy from Peru and, after this explosive key-board activity, an Etude by Moszkowsky and the third Ballade by Chopin!


Rippling Cascades
Vladimir Valdivia in Stuttgart

The enthusiastic audience gathered for the debut in Stuttgart’s Mozartsaal of the young Peruvian pianist Vladimir Valdivia insisted that he play four encores before they would allow him to leave the stage. The programme Valdivia selected to present himself provided an opportunity for him to display all the facets of his piano-playing ability. He started with Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy playing very freely in a transparent and clear manner, illuminating the harmonics of this work with delightful nuances of tone and impressed, not only by his rippling cascades of sound but also by his consistent and persuasive rendering of the poetically meditative passages as well as a breathtakingly fast version of the fugue, the apollonian clarity of which approached the level associated with Scarlatti. This was followed by a very tense interpretation of Beethoven’s “Appassionata” sonata with a first movement that was fluidly differentiated in its effects, an andante clearly understandable in its sound dramaturgy and a both impulsive and brilliant finale. Valdivia then demonstrated in Ballad No. 1 by Chopin how deeply he understands the use of delicate alternatives in his individual rubato, dynamic differentiation and tonal colour. After a cultivated interpretation of Debussy’s “Feux d’artifice with an uncompromising rendering of the hard dissonances, Valdivia then revealed himself as above all else to be a phenomenal player of Liszt. When playing his “Vogelpredigt” Legends, Valse Oublieé and “Vallee d’Oberman” he seemed to find himself in his own personal element. His technically stupendous, dramaturgically gripping interpretations could not be described as anything less than grandiose. The fact that he is a master of the art of improvisation which was widely practised at the time of Liszt but which receives very little attention from modern pianists was demonstrated by his encores, one item of which was his own arrangement of an Indian dance from Valdivia’s home country.


An abundance of dramatic expression
Vladimir Valdivia plays works ranging from the baroque to the romantic

Recently, friends of music made the acquaintance of a highly-talented young artist, namely the Peruvian pianist Vladimir Valdivia, in the atrium of the Max Grundig Clinic. The twenty-five year old gave a convincing performance not only by his technical virtuosity but also in a similar manner, a unusual degree of maturity for one of his age. This was evidenced by an impressive wealth of dramatic expression in his interpretations. One could sense that with his wonderful memory, Vladimir Valdivia was outstandingly in his element in appreciating the requirements of the different epochs in music as revealed in his interpretations of the works of Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann and Liszt. As early as the opening stage of the concert with the Chaconne in D as transcribed by Busoni - one of the outstanding works by Bach with its impressive style - Valdivia aroused enthusiasm for his virtuosity and his subtle sensitivity. Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” was followed by the scarcely less well-known “An Elise” which demonstrated what a difference it makes if this is attempted by an advanced piano pupil as compared with the interpretation offered by such a mature artist as Valdivia. The following three nocturnes in E-flat Major, D-flat Major and E-Minor were no less impressive as were the Ballade No. 3 and Schumann’s song “Widmung” as transcribed by Liszt, which the pianist intoduced into his programme with the effect of gleaming pearls. From Liszt’s “Legends”, Valdivia selected the “Vogelpredigt” with its chains of trills, arpeggios and chromatic sequences together with a version of “Liebestraum No. 3” which exquisitely matched his style of playing to illustrate a comprehensive musical image of personalised artistic talent.