Ever since I read this review from the Good Music Guide  I have been curious to listen to Michail’s new CD especially after a wonderful performance of a Beethoven Sonata for Pianoforte and Violin with Veronika Eberle last week in St Lukes( broadcast on the 9th July).

Why should a first prize winner at the Bolzano competition want to bring out a CD with the G major and A minor Schubert Sonatas ……..I was curious to say the least.

This is a man with something to say who has that rare gift of  being able to make the music speak ,infact to tell a tale.

And what a tale it is that  he has to tell , and what a palette of colours he has at his fingertips .

That he is able to share this dream with us is nothing short of miraculous in this age where speed and agility seem to take top place.

Time in fact for Michail stands still as indeed I did when listening on the car radio.

I stopped the car anxious to savour every nuance.

Right from the opening of the G major totally too slow as was Richter,but they have the same dream that is totally convincing.It is also  allied to a beauty of sound and control that is very rare indeed .You never want it to end .

From the sheen of sound in the last movement on which floats the most wonderful totally unsentimental  melody that only Schubert  could  have spun to the dance rhythms so individually voiced it all seems to make more sense .

It is a seemingly  totally direct communication between the composer and the music …..the performer become almost irrelevant .

Here is the actual review from a real critic ……I can only voice my opinion as many have been  doing recently after Barenboims marathon in London recently .

Maybe he found it necessary in a big hall to play a Barenboim piano to try to find the intimacy that Michail has  found here on this  obviously superb Steinway in the very intimate space of a recording studio .

All food for thought but in the end all about music and very little to do with the remarkable show of  speed and agility that we are being are being regaled with from Moscow in these days.

And he asks me if I think it is a good review!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Top flight stuff……..beautiful,rich,full and close…..beautiful playing


Can’t wait to hear it ……….. 





(This will be cross-posted in The Italian Invasion thread.) 

Release seven, and discs eight and nine.  Michail Lifits playing Schubert.  The twofer opens with a  slow D894, which opens with a slow Molto moderato e cantabile that tops 20′.  Lifits again plays with unfailing beauty, and his measured tempo does nothing to prevent the music from singing.  His loud playing is definitely loud, but not at all hard, and the sound is full.  The whole thing is almost beautiful to a fault, and I ended up being surprised (sort of) when the coda arrived, so quickly did the movement seem to go by.  The Andante carries on in exactly the same way.  I suppose it would be possible for there to be a bit sharper edges on some of the playing, and that some may find it too soft, but at the same time, the unending beauty is its own reward.  The Menuetto has more lyrical but striking playing in the outer sections, and the middle section is one of the purest, most delicate beauty.  The Allegretto lightens things up a bit to end the work, like a sort of slightly beefier D664.  Listeners who want a heavy, or hard, or intense D894 will probably not find this version to be among their favorites, but while I can and do enjoy those types of interpretations, this is just wonderful. 

The second disc contains D845.  Lifits again takes the piece on the slow side, which does not generally work as well here.  Lifits manages to make it work by ratcheting up the intensity and adding some real bite to his right hand sforzandi.  His hefty left hand playing also adds some scale.  The Andante likewise sounds lovely, but here Lifits plays the climaxes with some real intensity, and he plays some of the right hand passages in a sort of dreamy, stream of consciousness style that I really enjoy.  Only during the Scherzo’s outer sections does Lifits’ slow style show any signs of becoming too mannered.  That’s certainly not a problem in the vibrant Rondo, which finds Lifits playing the most animated fashion of either of his two Decca releases.  No, this is not a fire-breathing version like Friedrich Gulda’s, or a powerhouse reading like Radu Lupu’s, or a marmoreal reading like Maurizio Pollini’s, but I really, really dig it.  Really. 

So, for those who like rich, beautiful, warm Schubert with basically no true rough edges, this is a set to snap up.  If that reads like faint praise, it is not meant to: This is top-flight stuff. 

Sound is beautiful, full, rich, and close.  It is possible to hear Lifits breathing from time-to-time, yet there is no mechanism noise nor any other distractions to take away from the beautiful playing.


ALIM BEISEMBAYEV at the Purcell School 14 th June 2015

Who would have thought that some of the finest pianists around are being trained in England .None the less from the Purcell School a series of young pianists are breaking the tradition of English pianists sadly lacking in that necessary early training that has up to now been apparent only from the Eastern European countries and America.At last I was invited to see this remarkable place and to hear a remarkable young man about to embark on a trip to Fort Worth in Texas for the Junior Van Cliburn Competition.A student of Tessa Nicholson ,an old collegue ,Alim presented his programme that he will perform next week on the USA.Remarkably mature reading of the 7th Sonata by Prokofiev was matched by a dazzling Study by Ligeti.Very secure professional readings of the D major Prelude and Fugue Book 2 by Bach and the Sonata op 10n.3 by Beethoven maybe just lacking that sense of space and timing that only maturity will bring.A remarkable taught and passionate reading of Liszt 2nd Ballade following on with an equally finely controlled Chopin Fantasie ,Sense of colour and style in the Chopin C minor Nocturne followed atranscendental performance of Feux D.artifice.And fireworks very much in evidence in the Paganini study that finished the first half of a remarkably long and difficult programme.This is obviously yet another artist to add to the roster that are beginning to appear more and more often on the International concert scene.


CARLOS BEAUTIFUL WORDS ……….What a pioneer Ileana was ….. 10th anniversary celebration on the 3rd December


Chris Axworthy is also a special person in my life: he was the all-positive model of concert promoter wishing to bring artistry to Rome, with an open mind, independence from politics and the Italian provincial mentality. His wife was the perfect woman: unselfish, noble, sweet, strong, generous but choosy, and her superior beauty, possibly due to these quality, remained untamed until the last day of her life. And she was beautiful when I saw her for the last time in her coffin, still dressed as Ecuba, the character she was playing when she fell on stage and died soon after.

I wish to our friend Chris to remain pure and untamed as his wife was.

You see, very important people for me.


The beautiful Borromini sacristy in the Church of S Agnese in Agone in Piazza Navona was the place chosen by Carlo Grante to commemorate his mother two years after her death in June 2013.

Carlo,who in his formative years performed regularly in the Ghione Theatre choosing stimulating programmes from his vast repertoire most of them available now on you tube.

It was on the occasion of the Keyboard Trust Festival in Aquila in May 2013 that we met Carlo again .We were there to bring some music into the lives of that earthquake stricken city,in a hall designed by Renzo Piano given to the populous by the city of Trento.I think we managed to give some hope and joy not only to the people of Aquila but also to Carlo who was with his dying mother.

A Mass for his mother today was followed by music – Carlos own particular way of honouring his beloved mother.

Two pre world premieres, nothing less,prior to the official world premiere at theLincoln Centre this coming Autumn.

For Carlo has in the past year given a series of major recitals in New York,Vienna and Prague hailed by the critics and colleagues alike.

Adolphe,an American composer,had imagined how Chopin would have perceived his Nocturnes and Mazurkas if he had lived in New York .Some beautiful sounds and vaguely recognisable the Mazurka op 17 n.4 in between jazz idioms .

This was followed by a monumental performance of the Chopin 24 Preludes .It was as though Chopin this time had paid a visit to Bonn,Wonderful cantabile tone and sense of balance but not a trace of the sentimental that can very often belittle this masterpiece. Never has the 9th or the 20th Preludes sounded so Beethovenian in it majestic architectural shaping.The dotted rhythms in the 3rd , 9th and elsewhere very similar to Rubinsteins way of slightly accenting the short notes ,obviously originating from the Polish dance rhythms.The pivot point of the Preludes in Carlo’s highly stimulating and original reading being n.17 leading after a transcendental 22nd octave prelude inevitably leading on from the most noble and majestic 20th prelude that I have ever heard .The ending of course, at this point had all the heroism of the Revolutionary