Trossingen, Germany, 20 April 2005

Alan Fraser Concert review in Trossinger Zeitung

Alan Fraser offered pianistic treasures from three centuries to his abundant audience Saturday night. The Canadian also gave two workshops in Trossingen where he demonstrated among other things the Feldenkrais Method especially for musicians.

In the beginning Fraser caressed his audience with four graceful sonatas by D. Scarlatti. There was an agile sonata in D major and a nature-loving cantabile in the short A major work, originally for harpsichord. The final C major was presented with rhythmic gusto.

With a leap over two centuries Fraser came to the Sonata Op. 1 of Alban Berg, composed in 1908, The notes were wild and unruly, one time gloomy and dominant, then shrill sounding, a truly demonic sound picture. Far away from what you would expect from a Feldenkrais teacher, Mr. Fraser seemed to have much tension here, twisting and turning with the agonizing, highly chromatic passages. With a little imagination we could sense him as a medium of whom the composer’s soul had taken possession.

Imitating a roll of thunder with his left hand, in the beginning of the Liszt Ballade in B minor Fraser let a storm wind roar. The hall was nearly too small for this enormous amount of sound. But all of a sudden the rage of nature stopped and a simple clear melody eased the pulse of the audience. Long lasting applause followed after this highlight of the evening. In Robert Schumann’s Scenes from Childhood Fraser told tonal funny stories, imitated the look of a pleading child, and went berserk with Ritter vom Steckenpferd.

The audience could follow a real ballet of pianistic hands in Rachmaninoff’s Second Sonata. Two fighting cocks in the Allegro agitato, the Lento hypnotic, but with a loud sound reminiscent of jazz, Fraser offered the passages of the Allegro furioso.