Pianist Janina Fialkowska offered an impressive recital at the Terrace Theater last night as the second artist in the new Bolla Young Artist Series. Sponsored by the Italian wine company of that name, the series is being presented in several cities around the country to introduce artists whose careers are in the early stages.
Fialkowska, who is Canadian by birth, finished her bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Montreal by the age of 17. She then went on to study at Juilliard and, in 1974, won Israel's first Artur Rubinstein Competition.
Fialkowska's playing is already notable for its interpretive finesse and mature insight. She has a distinctive capacity to perceive the totality of a work and a strong sense of its underlying movement. Opening with Bach's Partita No. 2 in C Minor, she deftly uncovered the flowing motion contained within the music's many strands. The lightness and swing of the rondeau and capriccio were particular treats.
She is not an artist who makes her points by asserting her personality over the music. Rather, she finds the deeper meaning lying within the notes, and works through them. Chopin's language seemed second nature to her as she uncovered the emotional charge in his music. She was especially adept in revealing the aristocratic fierceness of the "Polonaise in F-sharp minor," Op. 44. Her Debussy selections were marked by a luminous tone and finely shaded flow and the closing Sonata No. 6 of Prokofiev was firmly handled. For Fialkowska the major effort now would seem to be primarily a matter of refinement and clarification in expressive details. She certainly has the broad outline of her approach well together.