No Man’s Land – To be or not to be

Pinter.To be or not to be? No Man’s Land
A really great night at the theatre. Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart every bit as good as Gielgud and Richardson that I remember all those years ago at the National in Pinter’s extraordinary masterpiece…… Unforgettable…….
……. opening the paper on the train home I see it has been designated five stars by Benedict Nightingale …….not enough say I …it is in the stratosphere already………. until 17th December …well worth the 7am queue for seats in the front row.
I had no idea until read the excellent programme at home that the names of the characters are all based on passed cricketers – hence the quote of Pinter :” cricket is the greatest thing that God created on earth………certainly greater than sex,although sex isn’t too bad either”……… father would be pleased to know that …he was an Umpire at Lords and lived for cricket.
A typical Pinter statement that it is what you read into it ……..there are no definite things: Is it past, present, future?Is it real or was it a figment of our imagination? ……..he aims to stimulate so there are no definite answers. When Patrick Stewart asked Pinter to explain if a character was Welsh in The Birthday Party…….Pinter talked all around it and in the end said its all in the play dear boy………..
Infact it was in Italy in the 1970’s when the Italian National Theatre at Teatro Argentina presented Old Times directed by Luchino Visconti.
It is a very ambiguous trio :two women and a man .
Lots of unanswered questions and many short one word conversations,insinuations,accusations……a word here and there with pregnant all very meaningful even menacing pauses.
Visconti decided that there must have been a lesbian relationship going on ….could be …..but Pinter had no intention of deciding how the audience should interpret the sparse words that passed from one to another .
When Pinter came to see the play in Rome and saw on stage the decision Visconti had taken on his behalf , he stopped the show and sued him.
There was a long drawn out legal battle for years that Pinter won!
We presented the play in Rome in my theatre immediately the rights became free again. Pinter trusted us and we did not let him down.
Ileana Ghione,Angiolina Quinterno,Piero Sammataro directed by a lifelong friend of my wife Massimo Scaglione who chose the music ” Smoke gets in your eyes” for the production.Very Pinteresque!
Huge success and Pinter was vindicated in Italy and left in his rightful place as one of the major writers of our time ….. he was in fact awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.
In his acceptance speech this son of a Jewish taylor from Hackney launched a scathing attack on why he thought the war in Irak was such a mistake.Well worth reading!
He refused to go to the USA whilst the Bushes were in power.
For Pinter was very much his own man as his masterly writings reveal
Ian Mc Kellen was superb tonight. So much so that he was not even recognisable at first ……All strange little details: a slight twitch ,a glance ,a sly smile that could mean anything ……….. This is the world of Pinter…read into it what you will.
Patrick Stewart too ….not a word from him for the first half hour ..but glances that spoke louder than words.
Both actors on stage for almost two hours.
Of course when they got on to comparing notes of the girls they had seduced in their student days all hell let loose .
Spooner(Mc Kellen) the underdog was put in his place by Hirst the self made successful man.
Here are all the famous lines that makes this play,in the end , so unforgettable ….a bit like Lady Bracknell in Oscar Wilde’s” Importance….”.
Lovely piece in the programme from Gielgud about the rather vague Richardson acceptance of the part:
“I’m going to do this new play by Pinter”Sir John told me.
“It’s with Ralph Richardson .I was a bit worried he wouldn’t accept the part as there’s a little dirty language in it and Ralph’s a bit prim and unworldly”
What sort of language I asked.”Oh male members being sucked in the mouth and that sort of thing” he said vaguely.
Then:”Ralph phoned and told me he’d accepted”
Wonderful Ralphie,but what about the dirty language? The male members being sucked?Richardson’s response was reassuring.
“Perfectly all right,cockie.Pure fantasy.Couldn’t happen in real life.”
That is Pinter and this performance in town until the 17th December should not be missed. There won’t be anything like it again for a long long time I am sure.
Well worth the queue at 7 am in the morning for front row day tickets

Pappano’s Norma

Pappano`s Norma it certainly was tonight as a very flat,bland and meaningless direction from La Fura dels Baus put a damp squid on this Pappano’s first Bellini performance in London.
Thank God (see all those crucifixes) for Pappano’s music that gave a very static production at least some musical impulse from the pit.
A wondrous sounding Norma in Sonya Yoncheva replacing the originally proposed Anna Nebtrenko who just did not feel up to this monstrous role.

But oh how we yearned for some real dramatic partecipation alla Callas or even at this point alla Caballe.

An admirable Pollione was Joseph Calleja who also seemed oh so static.
Adalgisa was,on the other hand an excellent and much experienced Sonia Ganassi.

I remember going to the first festival of the” Valle d`Itria “in the wonderful town of Martina Franca in Puglia (the boot of Italy!).
I was invited by the British Council  in the 1970`s to hear Grace Bumbry sing the role of Norma for the first time . I well remember the piano rehearsal in the courtyard of the  Palazzo Ducale where the choir from Cambridge(the reason I had been invited ) had been engaged to take part.
The organisers I remember well for their unforgettable names of Archangelo and Messiah as befits the superstitious people of those parts in the depth of Italy.
La Bumbry was preparing the part of Norma because she had always sang the part of Adalgisa the mezzo.
However she had been engaged at Covent Garden,where I was tonight, to alternate with Montserrat Caballe in the title role of Norma.The genial but totally impractical idea was that they would alternate the two roles of Adalgisa and Norma ..
Of course in the end la Caballe had no intention of learning the secondary part and stuck to the title role as befits a real diva!

Wonderful orchestral playing tonight under Pappano that was the real motor that kept the train in motion from the pit as on stage it was painfully obvious that they had not much of a clue what they were doing and why they were doing it!

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

A personal consideration … Canan Maxton of Talent Unlimited

I read your remark about the piece I wrote about Destounis.
Many thanks for your offer to use your wonderful piano.
I just aim to give these very talented”kids” my opinion.

I have been going to as many concerts as possible since I was a schoolboy almost 60 years ago- can it really be !

I have had the privilege to study with some of the greatest ormai storici musicians in my student years  starting with my real piano ” daddy” Sidney Harrison and continuing with Freddie Jackson,Gordon Green,Vlado Perlemuter and Guido Agosti .I have also been much influenced by Nadia Boulanger,Andre Tchaikowsky and Graham Johnson too.

I  have  also got to know some remarkable artists having invited many to play in my theatre in  Rome over the past 30 years or more: Perlemuter,Cherkassky,Tureck,Nikolaeva,Annie Fischer,DeLarrocha ,Fou Ts’ong,Lympany,Katin,Foldes,Freire,Fialkowska etc ,some amazingly for the first time.

The Ghione theatre just by St Peter’s Square built and run by me and  my remarkable actress wife Ileana Ghione for over thirty years .

Like Rubinstein suggested to the contestants in his first piano competition in Israel I have acquired my own taste, like bees choosing   their own pollen and creating their own individual honey.
There is no magic wand but just hope I can point in what I consider the right direction or at least another one.
There is no secret path but as Curzon would say the road to a successful performance is 90%work and 10% talent…….
…………of course that 10% -is what sorts out the men from the boys.
How they do it is of almost no importance to me.
The most important thing is to listen and love what you do because to “passare la ribalta” in the end requires total dedication.
Today a real treat Pappano’s Norma at Covent Garden on their splendid Friday Rush tickets.
He is our honorary patron at the  The Keyboard Charitable Trust of which  I am honoured to be a small  a cog in the wonderful wheel created by Noretta Conci for her 60th birthday ,26 years ago by her equally remarkable husband.
I met her when she and her husband  accompanied  Leslie Howard to play in my theatre 32 years ago. Leslie is  a founder member  and an artistic director .Elena Vorotko and I complete the artistic triumvirate.
Pappano   exemplifies all that I outlined above
Fine della conversazione in chat
Digita un messaggio… had received a very complimentary comment that suggested I might like to show a young pianist Destounis the way.This was my reply:

Leif Ove Andsnes – The Perfect Pianist

Leif Ove Andsnes – the Perfect pianist
A standing ovation for Leif Ove Andsnes at the end of his extraordinary recital at the Barbican this evening. Reprogrammed from last June, can there be any doubt that he is the most perfect pianist before the public today?
I am reminded of the young Pollini and well remember his first two recitals,almost revolutionary at that time, in the Q.E.H all those years ago.
In a long programme that included some rarely heard pieces by Sibelius together with the “Hunt” sonata op 32 n.3 of Beethoven and the second and fourth ballades of Chopin.
Here was not only pianistic perfection but a real musical mind looking with fresh eyes at even the most well known works from the piano repertoire.
Rubinstein may have been more instinctive as Richter was more mercurial. Horowitz more demonic,Serkin more intellectually energetic and Arrau a perfection that would be hard to match even today.
But here was a pianist that was absolute perfection on all fronts even to the choice of a “Gould “type programming of unknown Sibelius.
So it is even more perplexing that I was not actually touched or involved in his performances but rather, as with Pollini ,the fact that this was such perfection I just hoped he would do something to surprise , astonish or involve me .
I suppose that this thought came to me as he was playing the famous A flat Polonaise op.53 by Chopin as an encore.
Absolute fidelity to the score almost revolutionary in the way he played the opening almost as a quiet waltz, allowing him to build up gradually to the ” Heroique” appearances of the theme later on.
But the difference with his far superior performance than Rubinstein’s, in so many intellectual ways ,was that with Rubinstein one did not use ones brain to describe the performance because one was so swept away by the spirit and heart of the work was almost an animal rather than cerebral sensation,that arrived by direct contact between the artist and his public.” Passare la ribalta” it is called in Italian stage lingo ( probably best translated as getting across the footlights).
It sounds almost “glizzy” but the Beethoven op 31 n.3 played by Rubinstein in his 90th year in 1976 at the Wigmore Hall had much more impact than this almost perfect performance by someone half his age tonight.
Just some thoughts that passed through my mind trying to understand why I was not moved as I had been by Arrau,Serkin,Gilels ,Richter etc of whom Andsnes is a more than worthy heir.
The sound world of the exquisite impromptu in B minor op 5 n.5 by Sibelius was the same fantastic world of Debussy Pagodes that followed after the interval.
The great Romance in D flat major by Sibelius was every bit as effective as Navarra or the works major works of Lecuona.
A beautiful discovery these pieces by Sibelius of which there are over 150 .
An extraordinarily beautiful Elegiaco op 70 n.10 followed by a scintllating Kylikki op 41 .
A scherzo like Rondino op 68.n.2 followed by a simple Impromptu in E major op 5 n.6.
What a voyage of discovery !
Even in the Chopin one was made aware, for the first time ,of the similarity between the second ballade and the nocturne in F major op 15 n.1.
The fourth ballade that finished the recital received a performance worthy of its position as a pivotal work in the Romantic piano repertoire .
A recital that one entered thinking :”Oh,no not again!” but came out asking sorts of questions that demand all sorts of replies.
A remarkable evening .

Iyad Sughayer at St James’s

Iyad Sughayer at St James`s Piccadilly.
Some remarkable piano playing from this young Jordanian Palestinian pianist student of that remarkable pianist/ teacher Murray McLachlan at the Royal Northern College of Music and at Chethams from a very early age.
Having taken his first lessons at they age of five with Mohammad Sidiq in Amman.
Now just arrived in London to perfect his notable talents with Martino Tirimo for a Masters Degree at Trinity Laban.
A real “lion of the keyboard” made his London entrance today with a programme of Mozart,Liszt and Khachaturian.
A born pianist as was apparent from the moment he sat at the piano .

His poise and elegance in the beautiful early Mozart sonata K.282 was enviable.
The cantabile sound right from the first note showed his musicianly credentials to the full
With this very difficult acoustic though it was difficult to enjoy the intricate details of which the seemingly sparse notes are full.
A slower ,more measured tempo would have allowed us to savour this early masterpiece in more detail.

In fact it was the sound world of Liszt on this very powerful Fazioli ,that allowed Iyad I. Sughayer to demonstrate his notable musicianship.

La Chapelle de Guillaume Tell was given a very majestic performance tightly kept under control.The beautiful Au Lac de Wallenstadt was played with an exquisite cantabile- I just wished we could have heard more of the rippling waves that accompanied the beautiful nocturne like melody.
The Pastorale was played with all the musicianly charm and sense of colour that rarely in Liszt we are treated too.

Let me say immediately that the highlight of the concert for me was undoubtedly the Andante tranquillo second movement of the Khachaturian Sonata.
Such exquisite sounds and sense of balance savoured by the pianist ,one could sense his total identification with this sound world.
The outer movements where his enviable virtuosity did not let us get more than a glance at the real detail of which this work abounds.
More than an enviable impression was not possible at this velocity with the St James `s notorious acoustic against him.
However it was a very impressive visiting card from this young virtuoso that I am sure we will be hearing a lot about in the future

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

Konstantinos Destounis at the Elgar Room for the R.C.M

Konstantinos Destounis in the Elgar Room at the Royal Albert Hall
Konstantinos Destounis for the Royal College of Music at the Elgar Room in the Royal Albert Hall today, the next door neighbour,present in this very room since a Mr Barton played there in 1884 .
A student of Dmitri Alexeev and Aquiles delle Vigne both regular performers for many years in my theatre in Rome . So it was a great pleasure to hear this young man again after his prize winning performances at the Liszt Society annual competition last november. Konstantinos is also studying with Ian Jones at the R.C.M for a doctorate in contemporary Greek composers.
So it was not surprising that three such composers were in his programme today(one of whom,Dimitrios Skyllas, was present in the hall today…..see foto)sandwiched between major works of Chopin and Liszt.
All this on Elton Johns “Big Red Piano” provided by Markson Pianos. A not easy Yamaha to tame especially under the eagle eye of Ella Fitzgerald,The Beatles and Frank Sinatra.
Elgar nowhere to be seen today except in name.
Chopin and Liszt were not present either but were brought to life by the dextrous fingers and big romantic heart of Konstantinos in his very generous early morning sold out coffee concert.
Two of Chopin’s greatest works the Scherzo n.2 in B flat minor and the Barcarolle op 60 started the concert.
Chopin once likened the freedom or rubato in his works to a tree with the roots firmly placed in the earth allowing the branches to flow in the wind. And it was indeed in Konstantinos’s very fine romantic performances that one felt this need of an anchor for his heartfelt fervour.
A more attentive bass ,especially in the slower parts would have infact allowed more freedom without loosing the impetus so splendidly realised by his remarkable virtuosity.
It was a few years ago that another great friend of the Ghione Theatre in Rome,Janina Fialkowska, was giving a memorial concert dedicated to my wife,Ileana Ghione,when she whispered in my ear after a performance of the Barcarolle ,that” this was Ileana”.
Janina the true heir to the Rubinstein Chopin legacy meant that the sheer beauty,refinement and strength found in this masterpiece of the Romantic repertoire were all facets of Ileana’s personality too.
A legacy that means that in simplicity there can be passion,beauty and strength but only if the roots are firmly planted in the ground.
A difficult lesson for a romantic young man full of life and energy to understand ,but it will come with the maturity of a real artist.
The three Greek composers that he introduced in his very attractive native accent were of course played to the manner born,as one would expect.
The Prelude and Toccata by Theodore Antoniou receiving its UK premiere was played with all the resources of the piano exposed to the full .From the quiet murmur to the most thunderous cry. And like the Jettatura by John Psathas the Toccata showed his enormous dexterity and was very impressive indeed.
The very suggestive sounds in the Nine Miniatures for the Universe by Dmitrios Skyllas were hampered by a not very resonant piano but Konstantinos produced miracles in his total identification with music from his native land.
For Konstaninos is a real artist as was shown by his virtuoso performance of Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz that brought this very fine recital to a rousing conclusion.
Maybe his passionate participation could have had more dynamic control but this was a young man’s Liszt and totally convinced his audience ,much as the great man himself might have done ……no swooning ladies but a great ovation from a more discreet Sunday morning audience.
The piano does not have the depth of sound to allow many colours or refinement to be obtained but I remember my old mentor ,Vlado Perlemuter,telling me that the finest concert he ever gave was on an old ” casserole” in a school in South London……..”where there is a will there is always a way” as maturity will no doubt inform this very fine young musician.

Dinara Klinton at St Lawrence Jewry

Dinara Klinton at the C.M.F
Dinara Klinton at the City Music Foundation  with  Scarlatti,Chopin,Scriabin.
Interesting the CMF that give so much advice and help to their chosen artists on how to manage,market and promote themselves in order to be ready for the professional world.
The music is not their business but the music business is.
Splendid ….worth taking a look
Dinara ,fresh from adding third prize in the Cleveland International Competition to her already impressive list of honours and prizes .
I was surprised to see a very grand Fazioli piano where I was expecting Beecham’s splendid old grand that used to be in St Martins in the Fields.
Unfortunately this magnificent new piano was just not mellow enough to suit the very resonant acoustic in the beautiful church which is St Lawrence Jewry,just next to the Guildhall in the heart of the business world in London.
I was sitting almost next to Dinara and was overpowered by the resonance even there. But Dinara Klinton‘s supreme professionalism allowed her to play a difficult programme with her usual aplomb.Two Scarlatti sonatas played with great sense of style and an almost imperceptable flexibility .
The first slow Sonata K.87 suffered from our having to adjust to the acoustic .
The second K.96 where the technical difficulties were thrown off with the same ease as a Sokolov. Here the Fazioli was in a realm of its own for the ease with which the ornaments could be played with a precision and crispness that rarely can be equalled on the German pianos.
Her Chopin Barcarolle was given a very individual interpretation more masculine alla Rubinstein than the rather feline interpretations that are prevalent these days .It did,in fact, suit the hall admirably and I expect that Dinara had understood the problems of St Lawrence Jewry and had adapted accordingly to great effect.
The Funeral March Sonata was given a very taught reading even including the repeat in the first movement which is actually in the original score .
This was a very intelligent reading , full of impetus and poetry.
The Funeral March was played with a stillness and lack of sentimentality that had just the effect that Chopin must have intended.
The last movement the famous wind over the graves was an inevitable release from the tension she had so admirably created .
In Scriabin’s Vers la Flamme op.72 ,that finished this short programme,the obsessive motif that pervades the whole work was admirable realised.
Maybe missing the demonic element that was so much part of Horowitz’s world ,it was,however, played with great cohesion and brought this recital to a brilliant close.
I was sitting with one of the most renowned critics ,Bryce Morrison ,who was glad to hear Dinara for the first time .
Her fame had in fact preceded her on this occasion.
I doubt that the CMF could have expected a more glowing example for all the work they have remarkable offered these  young artists..

Mei Yi Foo at St Mary’s Perivale.

Mei Yi Foo at St Mary’s Perivale
Wonderful summers day for Mei Yi Foo`s recital at St Mary the Virgin ,Perivale in Hugh Mathers remarkable new Tuesday series.
An interesting programme of Schubert .Couperin,Gubaldulina,Bartok and Messiaen.
Beautiful church with a good acoustic in the middle of Ealing Golf Course, where just before the beginning of the concert they had decided to mow the green .
Our master of ceremony,Hugh Mather disappeared outside and managed to calm the rather noisy lawn mower so we could fully appreciate the exquisite,musicianly playing of Mei Yi Foo.
Three of the op 90 Impromptus D.899 strangely played with the score but with a fresh musicality and sensitivity that these well known pieces were brought to life as if for the first time.
Presenting the concert Mei Yi pointed out the interesting juxtaposition in her choice of combining Couperin ,Gubaldulina ,Bartok and Messiaen ,that followed the Schubert.
Some exquisite sounds in the Night Music from the Suite Out of Doors by Bartok and a truly savage performance of Regard de l’Esprit de joie by Messiaen.
A tour de force of piano playing , finding some truly extraordinary colours in this very difficult piece.
The Tic- Toc Choc by Couperin was partnered with a little piece by Sofia Gubaldulina to show the similarity in spirit although a different musical language.
Much look forward to hearing Mei Yi in Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto with the Philharmonia in London later this season .
It is four or five years since Mei Yi played in L’Aquila where the Keyboard Charitable Trust was invited by Guido Barbieri ,of the renowned Societa’ dei Concerti to bring three young pianists,from three different nations to play and talk about their careers and experience,L’Aquila had suffered a most serious earthquake and this culturally very important city had been reduced to a ghost town with the buildings that were left standing propped up by metal supports whilst awaiting restoration . Rubinstein was an honorary citizen and played every season as did many other famous artist .
The restoration is still only partially under way and it is now that the supports too are crumbling.
Another earthquake recently in the nearby town of Amatrice has shaken once again the hardy people of this region of Italy just sixty miles from Rome.
The city of Trento had given to the people of L’Aquila a new concert hall,designed by Renzo Piano (Shard/London and Parco della Music /Rome) and the offer of Claudio Abbado to give the first concert .
Just outside the gates to the city it was an ideal place for our young musicians to come and give the hope and strength that is to be found only in music and culture , to the beleaguered people of L’Aquila.
Three young musicians Pablo Rossi,Mei Yi Foo and Vitaly Pisarenko were the much appreciated artists who filled the people of this shaken city with hope for the future, if only momentarily.
Carlo Grante the very fine pianist born in L’Aquila was with us too visiting his mother ,one of the many inhabitants who ,because of this tragedy had been rehoused ,momentarily it was supposed, in our Hotel .
All three artists are to be heard in Hugh Mathers remarkable series in this charming little church in Perivale on Tuesday afternoons at 2 o’clock . Some of the finest young pianist of their generation and not to be missed by anyone interested in hearing the stars of tomorrow. +5

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

The genius of Trifonov

Trifonovs own goal ……….Trifonov with Thielemann and the Staatskapelle Dresden
Wonderfully interesting talk before the Prom about the Dresden Staatskapelle – not to be confused with the Berlin Staatskapelle that we have heard under Barenboim in the last two days.
Founded in 1558 it must be one of the longest established orchestras in the world.
Great links with Wagner but above all Richard Strauss.Rudolf Kempe was oboist in the orchestra before becoming a world renowned conductor.Colin Davis had a very special rapport with the orchestra and in particular with the people of Dresden.
And so it was to an orchestra bathed in tradition that Daniil Trifonov ,renowned for his virtuoso performances of the Romantic and Russian repertoire,turned for his first venture into the hallowed classical repertoire.Presenting Mozart K 467 “Elvira Madigan”concerto that from the first note revealed himself as a born Mozart player. Such wonderful singing sound as we have only heard recently from Menahem Pressler or Graham Johnson almost nearing the even more mellow and near perfect sound of Curzon. A sound that was transmitted to the gallery,where I was tonight,which is rightly called “paradiso” in the Teatro Colon in Argentina .
From the very opening the Dresden made clear their credentials with a wonderful string sound and sense of style and shaping of almost chamber music proportions. Such was their innate musicality, bathed in centuries of tradition, guided by the finest conductors of the age .And now under the superb Bochum like musicianship of Thielemann.
Difficult to follow an introduction as we heard tonight but Trifonov matched it and drew us even more into Mozart’s innermost thoughts with his superb cantabile and sense of colour ,poise and phrasing . Unfortunately he got in a tangle towards the end of the first movement and understandably lost his total domination of the audiences’ attention that he had conquered from his very first entry. He never really regained that poise although there were many things to admire. His cadenzas were obviously from his own genius and for that totally outlandish,fascinating and out of style. Just as Schnabel had been all those years ago. Genius cannot be contained within the confines of what we expect – for Trifonov is a genius a one in a million . On this occasion he missed the goal but what a match was had.
Next time I am sure we will hear the great Mozart player that he obviously will become.A rather obscure encore  from Prokofiev Cinderella Suite that did not pamper to the usual gladiator tactics of the virtuoso performer.He was just anxious to share with us his musical thoughts.
I actually preferred the warmth and romantic fervour of Barenboims 4th and 6th Bruckner Symphonies heard earlier this week But Thielemann’s 3rd of course showed off the magnificent sound of his orchestra .His superb musicianship showed us the structure and guided us through the difficult Bruckner waters. I missed the passion and subtle phrasing that Barenboim had found with the Berlin Staatskapelle but that of course in a question of taste.
There can be no doubt that in these days we have heard the best of the great German Orchestras with the Berlin Philharmonic followed by the Staatskapelle of Berlin and Dresden …………….London and the Proms is really the place to be for music lovers during the summer months .How lucky we are and the millions throughout the planet that can tune in so easily to the nightly BBC live relay. +11