On Saturday 26th July 2014 we made way to Alt Empordà, to Sant Pere Pescador, to attend one of the many concerts in the numerous Summer Festivals organized along the Catalan Coast. In search for body rest, freedom, sun, sea and air, Catalonia can also offer a high voltage spiritual complement of landscape, art, temples, monuments, history and high quality music.

Last Saturday’s concert in the church of Sant Pere Pescador was a piano recital by pianist Quim Bonal. It had been a long time since we, at Promoartyou, had been willing to listen to him live, since he had written to us in that first article of his, “How I became a pianist” about his motivations for playing and his obsession in search of the sound. Quim Bonal is a piano virtuoso, a scholar, a worker and an artist. To start with we must thank him for mainly programming Catalan composers and some of their least known works.

He started the first part of the concert by playing Mompou, his Variation on a Chopin piece, and it was then when he showed us how he is capable of recreating the sound, note by note, searching for deepness, many and different intensities and creating a kind of magnetic domain that makes you aware of the different harmonies and the sensory and emotional effect they cause at different times. Quim Bonal is in search of an energetic sound, he provokes a dialogue between the earth and the instrument, which he himself drives, emphasizes and modulates... The profoundness of the sound was so powerful that I looked at him wondering whether he was playing barefoot as the feeling was so rooting that he seemed to take the sound straight from a sound box under his feet.

Quim Bonal is really excellent when transmitting the profound sensitivity and simplicity of composers such as Mompou or the eclecticism and different reminiscences, as we also heard in the Sonata Breve in Do Major by Taltabull.

Being a master of the sound and emotional filigree and an extremely elegant pianist in gesture does not prevent him from being a virtuoso. As he showed in his performance during the second part of the concert, playing Granados’ Concert op. 48 Allegro, Turina’s Spanish Women op. 73 and the risky Falla’s Fantasía Baética, Quim Bonal’s fingers run as if it were easy. With neat notes and the sound as cared for as in the first part, the pianist was able to approach extremely difficult pieces and make clear that he is a soloist with capital S.

To add something else and just as recommendation, to a pianist that stands out both for his introspection and in the vertical profundity, we would say that when approaching such pieces of expansive virtuosity o with more “fire” like Falla, Granados or Turina, he should try to feel, with the same intensity, the opposite force on a horizontal line and try to broaden his performance from the stomach, opening his whole chest to let it flow even better. That is how an artist so devoted, sensitive and intense in detail will be able to grasp even better the architecture or the general sense of the piece of music. Furthermore, he will transmit as much intensity in each part as in the whole.

Having shown such level and potential, we would like to make a demand; that Quim Bonal could be seen playing much more often, not only in concert halls but also in schools, general or music schools, as we believe that his great sensitivity in performing and his accurate treatment of sound must be passed on to the next generations of pianists, unluckily, more and more guided to technical capacity and cold expression than to true performance.

As a conclusion we would like to end this review by encouraging those directors of summer festivals to program them having in mind the local artists who, like Quim Bonal, surprise us for what they have to say, for the higher music quality they have to offer and for everything they can teach us.

Cristina Viñas.
Manager of Promoartyou.
Font (in catalan): PromoartYou