Anna Tsybuleva and Dame Fanny Waterman

 thAnna Tsybuleva Leeds International Piano Competition Prize Winner’s Recital
Anna Tsybuleva this evening gave her much awaited debut at the Wigmore Hall as winner of the Leeds International Piano Competition founded by the ever amazing Dame Fanny Waterman over fifty years ago.
Dame Fanny at 95 presiding as always over her “children” that have included Murray Perahia,Radu Lupu ,Dmitri Alexeev,Rafael Orozco,Andras Schiff,Mitsuko Uchida,Louis Schwizgabel and many more besides .
Since the very first competition winner,her star pupil , the seventeen year old Michael Roll,much admired by Benjamin Britten and a jury of some of the greatest pianists alive all persuaded by this remarkable lady to give up their valuable time with the sole aim of finding their rightful heir and in doing so helping the next generation to astonish a vast public that was awaiting .
Magaloff,Curzon,Bachauer,Fischer,Tureck ,Siki,Boulanger,Sandor these were some of the names on the first juries.
And so it has been a whole host of great artists brought to the public’s attention thanks to the passionate advocacy of this minute power house of energy who had decided in the 1960s that Leeds should house one of the most prestigious piano competitions in the world.
Tonight it was the turn of the young Russian pianist Anna Tsybuleva ,an extremely beautiful young lady with a red hot passionate approach to the piano that had been so admired in her winning performance in Leeds of Brahms Second Piano Concerto.
In fact the visual participation was something that was more admired on the television than on the radio performance .
And so it was tonight in the second half of the recital with a commanding performance of Medtners Sonata in G minor op 22 in which the sense of line and direction were so clearly etched together with a cohesion of sound that made this not fully understood work totally comprehensible .
Not since Richter have we heard the wondrous sounds that she found in Voiles ,the first of three preludes that made up a group of magical Debussy pieces culminating in a passionate performance of L’Isle Joyeuse .
Minstrals was charcterised is such an idiomatic way one was almost reminded of the famously idiosyncratic recording of Paderewski .
Feux d’Artifice could have been more mysterious but the clarity, musicality and sheer virtuosity was breathtaking .
An ovation from a full house was regaled with The Girl with the Flaxen Hair of such liquidity one was totally unaware that here was a box hammers and strings instead of a choir of angels.
The first half on the other hand had been more perplexing . Anna’s inner fire had been to her detriment and the CPE Bach Fantasia in F sharp minor Wq.67 was very fragmented from magnificent frenzied rhythmic articulation to sounds spread over a larger canvas that somehow did not gel into one whole that one could follow.
The Schumann Etudes Symphoniques op 13 too was much too fussy and not simple enough …..somehow her passionate involvement got in the way of the musical line .
The posthumous studies inserted after what Agosti used to describe as the architecturally Gothic cathedral were strangely fragmented and seemingly improvised and not at all part of the overall rather straightforwardly musical line of the variations of this much maligned masterpiece .
In all this performance my one thought was for the great gift that Dame Fanny has with her passionate involvement with music been able to communicate to a vast audience worldwide .
She was very interested to know that Radu Lupo tomorrow would be playing Beethoven Fourth Piano Concerto in Rome with Sir Anthony Pappano . I also told her that Murray Perahia would be giving a recital on the 6th of March.
This great pianist and winner of her competition in the 1970’s who represents so wonderfully her ideals for the Leeds Competition that  she is projecting into the future when I have have no doubt she will be looking on approvingly  from afar.


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