Ashley Fripp at St James’s Piccadilly

Stopped by an enthusiastic listener after Ashley Fripp `s exemplary recital.He said it was one of the best recitals he has heard for years.
Now living in Los Angeles I told him to go back to tell Ashley himself.
How much it can mean to an artist to have reached out to an unknown public.
But as Ashley, in his very eloquent introduction, said how grateful he was to be taken under the wing of the ever generous Canan Maxton and her exemplary Talent Unlimited that aims to help such great talent to be heard by a vast public whilst they embark on the long road to recognition.
One of several organisations that try to circumvent the International Piano Competition Circuit .
Together with the remarkable series of Hugh Mather in Ealing ,YCAT and the Keyboard Charitable Trust  organisations that offer an alternative route from the rather Circus like atmosphere of the Competition Circuit, where inevitably there can be only one winner, but unfortunately many disillusioned great talents.
Let us not forget that many of the great artists before the public today have never had success in competitions:Paul Lewis,one of the finest musicians this country has produced is now paradoxically artistic director of the Leeds International Piano Competition founded by another non winner: the remarkable Dame Fanny Waterman now in her 95th year.
Also amongst illustrious “loosers” are Andras Schiff and Angela Hewitt,both with justly remarkable careers.

Starting his recital at St James’s Piccadilly with Bach s English Suite in A minor,played with an inner energy even more remarkable for his magisterial sense of balance in the slow Allemande and Sarabande.
Maybe ,in my opinion,he could now take more leisurely tempi as that High Priestess Rosalyn Tureck had shown us in her last memorable recitals in my theatre in Rome when she was in her late seventies and eighties.

However let us not forget the she too was the “Young Firebrand” in her youth.
Ashley’s was remarkably assured musicianly playing and with maturity  he will be ,without doubt be  in the forefront of Bachian interpreters.
After all a really good wine matures with age.

Of course his Chopin playing we had already experienced on streaming from the Warsaw Competition.
An extraordinary Nocturne in D flat op 27 n.2 on a Kwai piano, was unforgettable .
The same magical sound and nobility was produced today in the Barcarolle and the Andante Spianato.

Having already heard , this summer, his very fine performance of the Barcarolle in Elisso Virsaladze’s masterclasses in Sermoneta .
Much impressed this great artist has taken Ashley under her wing and he will this winter have her unrivaled musicianly help and advice in Fiesole where all the greatest talents flock to her renowned classes.
A very fine Grande Polonaise Brillante ,that with this church acoustic could ,for my taste,have been taken at a more leisurely pace ,ended the recital .
After all are these not “canons covered in flowers”.

Certainly,as with the whole programme, this was playing of great assurance and conviction that can only get more profound with contact with the vast public that surely awaits.

foto di Christopher Axworthy.
foto di Christopher Axworthy.
foto di Christopher Axworthy.
foto di Christopher Axworthy.
foto di Christopher Axworthy.


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