Kian Soltani: Home
You can tell a great deal about performance quality from one crucial consideration: timing. In the context of Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata as played by Kian Soltani and Aaron Pilsan, it’s in the first movement. Listen to 2'58", an arpeggio piano chord at the close of the exposition, then the pause before the repeated opening – sheer perfection. No one on disc judges it better. The overriding impression is of a watertight musical partnership, one’s attention divided equally between cellist and pianist. Soltani was born in Bregenz in 1992 into a musical Persian family and has all the qualities needed to win consistent critical acclaim, namely innate musicality, a yielding, svelte tone, an agile bowing arm and a skilful deployment of varied vibrato. Listening to him is a great pleasure.
The programme is especially well chosen. Schumann is represented by two works, the Op 73 Fantasiestücke and the Op 70 Adagio and Allegro in A flat, music that illustrates not only the ‘Florestan’ and ‘Eusebius’ aspects of the composer’s own muse but parallel qualities in this particular musical partnership, languid lyricism and fiery attack. Both composers are additionally represented by beautiful – and superbly played – song transcriptions, Schubert by ‘Nacht und Träume’, Schumann by ‘Du bist wie eine Blume’.
And then there’s the Persian element, Reza Vali’s seven Persian Folk Songs (‘Set No 16 C’ as we’re told), love songs by ‘the Bartók of Iran’, as Soltani thinks of him, though I was put more in mind of Janáček, certainly in the first piece, ‘Longing’. The third piece ends with a Tristan quote and the programme as a whole concludes with Soltani’s own unaccompanied Persian Fire Dance, which would do nicely in recital as a follow-on from Kodály’s Solo Sonata, very much the same worlds and a work that with any luck Kian Soltani will offer us before too long. A beautiful programme, superbly recorded.