The World Bank's piano week continued yesterday afternoon in the Building H Auditorium with an all-Chopin program presented by Nina Kuzma-Sapiejewska. The soloist chose familiar works -- the Nocturne (Op. 48, No. 1); the Scherzo in B flat minor, the Ballade in G minor and the Polonaise in A flat (Op. 53).
Although her arrival was delayed by a flat tire en route to the hall, she seem unperturbed and played with considerable poise and conviction.
Kuzma-Sapiejewska, a native of Poland, seems to have a nearly ideal temperament for interpreting Chopin's music. Her tasteful use of rubato, never allowing it to obscure the underlying tempo, is particularly noteworthy. Likewise, her deft pedaling and the clarity and smoothness of her right-hand technique brought out, with only minor exceptions, the appropriate balance between melody and accompaniment. The latter element was especially noticeable in her superb handling of the Scherzo.
Certainly these qualities are among the most important an artist can possess in approaching Chopin. Missing in the performance, however, was the excitement that could have been generated by, among other things, a richer piano sonority. Some of the climaxes in the Ballade and the central section of the Polonaise, for example, sounded forced rather than forceful. Although the instrument she was playing and the dry acoustics of the hall were anything but helpful, more care and precision in choosing tempos and in planning the range and degree of dynamic contrast could have helped overcome these problems.