Pascal Devoyon is not just another promising young pianist. He is a true poet, a passionate and distinctive artist. At the Terrace Theater Saturday afternoon he played works by Mozart, Faure', Scriabin, Prokofiev and Chopin, generating in the audience the kind of excitement that accompanies the discovery of a treasure. The loud acclaim was well deserved.
Chopin's Ballade in G Minor, Op. 23, was played unannounced, as an unusually generous encore. It summed up Devoyon's musical approach with phrasing of clear profile and profound emotion. Chopin created with his ballades a genre of poetic scenes for the piano, replete with the delicacy and drama of bel canto. Devoyon's dazzling technique, as he played the G Minor in almost half the usual time, was never mannered but simply strong. He made it clear that this was not poetry to be declaimed, but to be lived.
Scriabin's Sonata No. 5 in F-Sharp Major, Op. 53, begins with a struggle that is not quite finished when the score ends. Devoyon found both the romance and the surrealism of this masterpiece, even highlighting the hints of serenity within Scriabin's demons.
Mozart found the pianist less at home, even if the broad smile at the close of the D-Major Sonata, K. 111, proved charming. Prokofiev's heroic Sonata No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 14, shone in Devoyon's hands.