The first paragraph of Mariam Batsashvili's biography states, “Mariam’s musicianship seems to connect directly with one’s heart and her colours of sound, thoughtful interpretations and stupendous touch move and delight her audiences”. And she totally proved that this is one hundred percent correct.
Appearing serious and completely in her zone, our first impression of this pianist was that she is rather solemn. But her ability to unlock the music, establish a statement in every piece, and convey the story to us with numerous tones, colours and textures of sounds was just incredible.
Throughout the first and third movements of Beethoven’s Appassionata Sonata, Mariam maintained a bare and gripping sentiment. But even out of those dark and struggling passages, she brought out such warmness and striking tenderness, particularly in the lower register.
We heard one of the most beautiful pianissimo passages in Schubert’s Impromptu. With her tasteful voicing and immersive sounds, it sent us into a bittersweet emotional trance.
Then, three Liszt pieces followed consecutively. I can only describe Mariam’s technical skills as total mastery. She was meticulously precise and geared with perfect dexterity and control, but, far from mechanical. In fact, her true strength was this astonishing ability to make the whole experience theatrical and to cultivate one’s imagination – I had many scenes popping up in my head. A tremendous gift, and after all, isn’t this the core of music making?
A little gift of an encore from Mariam, Liszt’s arrangement of Paganini’s Grande Etude No 4, completed the evening.