Jan Lisiecki at the Wigmore Hall

Jan Lisiecki at the Wigmore Hall
And so to the Wigmore Hall with great pleasure to hear again Jan Lisiecki. Glad to see that all his publicity hype as a Vogue model had calmed down and he was now presented as the very fine pianist that he revealed here last season. From the great Canadian school a direct line from Glen Gould through Mark Andre Hammelin,Louis Lortie,Janina Fialkowska and Angela Hewitt.
A programme starting with Bach and ending with Schubert was indeed an intriguing and happy occasion to show off his real musicianly credentials.
Unfortunately it was not the extraordinary occasion that I was expecting and I suspect that this extraordinarily talented young man is playing all over the globe too often and is having to rely on his remarkable facility that allows him to free wheel seemingly without much real depth or control.
In the Bach Second Partita that opened the concert it seemed as though he was playing with the notes rather than having any real depth of meaning or command of architecture and structure, as we have come to expect from a Hewitt or a Gould .
Technically impeccable,of course,but no real backbone it was more like a plasma searching its way.
The opening sounding like a transcription of Bach/Busoni such were the sonorities he found. All rather too fast to be able to unentangle the knotty twine that Delius was to find so distasteful.
The rarely performed Schumann Klavierstucke op 32 was made painfully obvious why, from his performance of this work of the dotted rhythm Schumann that can be so tiresome even in his greatest masterpieces.
The Scherzo in B minor by Chopin that ended the first half was rattled off like a transcendental study with all sorts of strange shadings and a middle section so woefully slow it sounded as though it was a nocturne that had slipped somehow into the middle of all this razz -matazz.
There were then great hopes for the second half with the two nocturnes op 48 and the  four great late Schubert Impromptus.
Some people walked out after the nocturnes as it was obvious that it was an off day .
The exaggerated dynamics and rubato that verged on the vulgar were a premonition as to what we were in for with the Impromptus.
These great poetic works some of the last outpourings of a man close to death were rattled off like studies with the most literal staccato instead of the poignant portamento that Serkin,Fischer and Fialkowska have given to us in the past .
The last Impromptu sounded in places like a transcendental study.
Instead of the standing ovation of his last concert the discerning Wigmore audience were only too anxious to leave the hall not a little dismayed.
However we were treated to an encore announced as a work to help us dream:Schumann’s Traumerei ……more like a nightmare than a glimpse of paradise.
One can only assume that this very gifted young pianist still only in his early twenties with many memorable performances  and even a notable recording of the Schumann Concerto with Pappano to his name has joined the jet setting concert circuit long before he is mature enough to be able to cope.
The same thing happened to Trifonov after he won two major competitions and was thrown into the spotlight. He has recovered thanks to his close friends and a caring benefactor and is now in his rightful place as one of the great pianists of our time .
I sincerely hope that Jan Lisiecki will overcome this obvious and understandable crisis and in his own time take his rightful place on the international circuit.
Nadia Boulanger used to quote Shakespeare :”Words without thought no more to heaven go”……….the problem is that these days there is no time to stop and think ,digest and mature in this jetsetting world where everything is expected to happen instantly .

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