A beautiful evening in the company of some remarkable Turkish friends.
After a day listening to some wonderful young talents at their graduation recitals in the Royal College of Music I never thought that in the evening I would be swept off my feet by the very fine Turkish pianist Gulsin Onay.
Such nostalgia to be reminded of my duo partner of many years the great Italian pianist Lya de Barberiis,with whom I played until her death a few years ago at the age of 93.
But here was a real professional pianist the like of whom is very rare these days .
Of such assurance and absolute authority but with a tiny hand that through absolute determination could do anything she set her mind to.(Did not Alicia deLarrocha have the smallest hands too).
From a great tradition of Turkish musicians for whom the Turkish government passed a special law to oversee their early training.The first of whom our great friend Idil Biret who as a child was allowed to study with Nadia Boulanger and Wilhelm Kempff.I well remember her debut ,sponsored by the Turkish government in London with Rachmaninov`s third piano concerto at the RFH with the LSO under Pierre Monteaux.
And so Gulsin tells me she too followed in Idils footsteps.
Hardly surprising then the quality of the music of the hour of music that she offered in the private house of that other remarkable co-national the much loved and ever generous Canan Maxton founder of Talent Unlimited that aims to give a platform and all sorts of support to great young up and coming musicians.
Mendelssohn Variations serieuses played with a rhythmic energy and assurance that I certainly was not expecting even in Canan Maxton `s beautifully hospitable home.
Following with the Andante Favori (the original slow movement of Beethovens Waldstein Sonata ) and a most orginal performance of Chopin Ballade n.3
A very strenous sonata by her former teacher Ahmed Adnan Saygun a cross between Alwyn and Prokofiev which would have left any lesser pianist in need of a break was followed ,by this remarkable artist ,by a totally cohesively brilliant performance of that warhorse Prelude,Choral and Fugue by Cesar Franck.
A well deserved rest after a charming introduction to two artists that she via Talent Unlimited are fostering and it was left to them to offer to the very enthusiastic audience the well deserved encores that she had earned.
Samson Tsoy with a virtuoso account of Pletnev `s waltz from the Nutcracker Suite and another fine turkish student of Dmitri Alexeev of Schumann’s Theme and Variations from the Sonata op 14 (Concerto senza orchestra).
What more generous way to help young musicians than to share the platform with them.An example of the reply to the International Piano Competition circuit that two other great generous ladies of the keyboard, Pires and Argerich ,have decided to adopt