Kausikan Rajeshkumar at S.Mary’s Perivale
It was a few years ago that I heard a young Sri Lankan pianist play at the Royal Festival Hall in the Martin Trust Young Musicians series.
It was an outstanding performance of Chopin’s B minor sonata together with a pieces by Villa Lobos .
I immediately made a note of his name as someone to watch out for and rushed back to inform my colleagues and founders of the Keyboard CharitableTrust,John and Noretta Leech .
And so it was that two years ago he appeared in the little town near to my home in Italy ,Sermoneta,to partecipate in the famous master classes at the Summer School founded by Menuhin and Szigeti ,
The great pianist and ever generous teacher Elisso Virsaladze returns every year for masterclasses to which the greatest young talents flock. Kausikan was one of the few selected by her to play in the final concert of her master students .
I still remember the magic of the Sonata n.2 by Scriabin ,the so called Fantasy Sonata in two movements .
A magic that was remembered too by many people on the beach the following day that had flocked to these very special concerts and had been entranced by this young pianist. .
And so it was today in the new series invented by that indefaticable Hugh Mather that we too were able to be entranced by this very performance .
An almost improvisatory performance such was his self identification with the sound world of Scriabin .
Full of subtle colours and demonic energy .
The two movements very much conceived as a whole with the fragmentary almost hinted melodies of the first united in the second movement in a triumphant final exposition … the famous “star” for which even in his early years Scriabin was searching.
Little did the public know that Kausikan has a unique improvisatory talent and can with great ease improvise in many different styles on any theme given to him .
We all admired the Brazilian pianist Gabriela Montenero at the Proms the other day.How she improvised in many different styles on the Sailors Horn Pipe tune so associated with the last night of the Proms.
I have heard Kausikan do similar and maybe even more and sincerely hope that he will share this with his public that is not used to what today is considered a unique gift.
It is a talent given to a young man who gained a first in Cambridge at a very early age having been trained in the piano at the Purcell School.
It is only now that we are seeing the remarkable results of British trained musicians from the Purcell and Menuhin Schools that give superb musical training to highly talented children whilst allowing them to combine normal school activities .
Kausikan from the remarkable school of Tessa Nicholson who has trained so many of the remarkable talents that are now coming to the fore.Gone is the age when we all looked to the East and to the USA for highly trained musicians whilst the British were admired for their musicianship but sadly lacking technical accomplishment .Now too the British musicians are in the forefront on the International Concert Scene.
It was ,in my opinion,a little too improvisatory, for the great E major Sonata of Beethoven ,the first of his last great trilogy of Sonatas.
Whilst as he rightly indicated in his excellent presentation,this is the most serene almost pastoral of the last Sonatas ,it does need to have a very solid backbone that sometimes Kausikan in his search for that special sound world of his and Scriabin slightly lost the pulse in the ebb and flow of this sublime music.
Not helped by an ungrateful piano two studies by Chopin and Liszt were given virtuoso performances greatly appreciated by our master of ceremony Hugh Mather.
It was refreshing to hear ” Waldesrauchen” by Liszt that I have not heard since Perlemuter played it as an encore after a monumental performance of the B minor Sonata ,some thirty years ago.
The most poetic of Rachmaninoff Preludes ,that in D major op 23 was followed by the final piece in the programme the tempestuous Etude Tableau in D op 39.
At the insistence of our very enthusiastic host and also a very appreciative audience we were treated to the so called ” minute” Waltz which Kausikan delivered in fifty five delicious seconds.