I don’t imagine Walter Hall has changed all that much since I gave my one and only noon-hour recital there many years ago as a fourth-year composition student. But what I do know is that pianist Raymond Spasovski plays much better than I did on this live recording of a concert held there last October. Born in Macedonia, Spasovski made his debut at the age of 10 with the Macedonian Symphony, and since then, has appeared with major orchestras throughout Europe and North America to great acclaim.
This CD, his first, presents an attractive program drawing heavily from the late Romantic period, but opening with a short sonata by the 18th century composer Mateo Albeniz. Although this piece and the Bach Prelude in A minor BWV 807 clearly demonstrate his technical dexterity, it’s the repertoire from the late 19th century in which he particularly excels, especially that by Spanish and South American composers. Indeed, de Falla, Granados, Isaac Albeniz, Lecuona, and Ginastera are well represented, and he approaches them all with great panache. The playing is confident and bold, particularly demonstrated in the Tres Danzas Argentinas by Ginastera, and Granados’ Allegro de Concierto. Yet his interpretation of the Chopin Berçeuse shows a decidedly more sensitive side to his playing.
While I’m always a little leery about live recordings with respect to audio quality, the sound here is well-balanced and warmly resonant - and even the frequent applause doesn’t detract in any way. So a big bravo, Mr. Spasovski – the Walter Hall Steinway sounds much better under your capable hands than it ever did with mine!