Jayson Gillham at St Mary the Virgin

Jayson Gillham at St Mary the Virgin
Jayson Gillham at St Mary the VirginSo sorry to have arrived too late to hear the first two pieces on Jayson Gillham’s programme due to the very poor service at the weekend on public transport in this part of the world .
However I did arrive in time to hear a remarkable account of the little “introduzione” to the final movement of Beethoven.s “Waldstein” Sonata.
The movement that replaced the original movement printed separately as the Andante Favori .
Adagio molto it certainly was but with a intense sense of meaning that rarely I have heard before.
Infact a profound statement in Jayson’s hands that made so much sense.
Leading into the seemingly serene Rondo which then erupts into great bursts of rhythmic energy so typical of the so called ” middle ” period of Beethoven.
The long pedal that Beethoven indicates was beautifully realised on a not easy piano.But here in Jaysons hands all seemed possible such was his mastery and control. and above all intelligence never forsaking the sense of line .
I would have preferred more grandiloquence alla Arrau in the more virtuostic passages and I am sure that Jayson with maturity will come to realise this too .
It was though a remarkably assured performance with real “sturm und drang ” that was totally convincing . Never a harsh sound but a great range of sound from the very quiet to the Beethovenian outbursts so much part of this sonata.
I was sorry to have missed Bach’s C minor Toccata and the Handel Chaconne both of which our magnificent ever present host Hugh Mather told me were superb.
After the interval the Complete Etudes Symphoniques op 13 by Schumann .
As Jayson told us these variations were published in various forms and it was only in the Brahms edition of 1890 that the five so called ” posthumous” variations were published . Jayson supposed that these very intimate extra variations were written with Schumann’s fiance of the time: Ernestine von Fricken in mind .
The theme was infact written by her father.
Schumann obviously thought that Clara Schumann would not have been happy to play these as they were so obviously written for his previous love.
The Etudes Symphoniques were infact dedicated to William Sterndale Bennett ,the first director of the Royal Academy of Music in London who often used to include them in his recital programmes
What a triangle …so it was up to Brahms to actually publish them and it was these complete variations that were inserted so intelligently by Jayson into the accepted fabric. He also incorporated some of the variants in the finale that appear in previous editions . The first thing that was evident was the beauty of tone that Jayson found on what we thought was a difficult instrument .
Whether pianissimo or fortissimo there was never a harsh sound but a supreme sense of colour and direction that held a full hall under his command for the entire second half. The posthumous variations being inserted in perfect harmony within the overall structure .The first two immediately inserted after the first variation and the most magical one saved almost for the end with quite exceptional effect.
I have heard Jayson’s performance before at the Wigmore Hall for the Keyboard Charitable Trust prize winners concert,and although now much more mature and with a more profound musicality I am still not convinced of his habit of bringing out the bass in the repeat of many of the variations.
However it was a magisterial interpretation of great assurance and rhythmic urgency that totally held us all under his spell .
A performance of the Prelude from Bach’s Violin Suite in E major transcribed by Rachmaninov was such that I doubt that the master (Rachmaninov,ca va sans dire) himself could have bettered it
Jayson,quite rightly , is making a great name for himself and after his success in the Montreal International Piano Competition is adding many notable triumphs under his belt on the way to being recognised as the superb complete artist we are coming to know .
And he is the first to recognise all that Hugh Mather has done for him and his colleagues and his affectionate appearances in Perivale are like a return home for this talented charming ” sunny” young Australian. +6

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