The Genius of Trifonov

The genius that is Trifonov.
That Trifonov is a genius there can be no doubt .
Winning both Rubinstein and Tchaikowsky competitions is only incidental to his all consuming passion for music.
Not content at only twenty five to take the major concert halls worldwide by storm he has also written many works including his own piano concerto which can be heard on you tube.
Anyone that talks to him is immediately aware of his urgency and total commitment when speaking about music .
Genius sometimes is not easy to take and must be digested in small doses as one risks being totally overwhelmed.
Thus it was a pleasurable surprise to hear his very poetic, totally simple but original performance of Schumann`s Kinderscenen with which he opened his sold out recital at the Barbican today.
Traumerei may have been unusually slow but played with simplicity and loving care. Even the final chord of the Poet Speaks was absolutely perfect as were so many marvellous unforgettable moments in this much maligned miniature masterpiece .
As op 15 was an ideal foil for op 16  Kreisleriana that was separated by the Toccata op.7. Obviously he thought of the Toccata as a total contrast to the miniature fantasies that make up op.15 and 16.
And so it was just like a bull in the china shop a Toccata  that can be of such ravishing beauty was treated to a martellato like opening that should have been so legato and quiet. But a genius knows no bounds and Trifonov gave a totally committed performance which was almost totally contrary to what the composer so clearly indicates.
But this was no show off virtuoso performance but a man possessed and determined to share his vision with us.
So many wonderful things in Kreisleriana but so fragmented.
Whilst one admired the wonderful insights his flight of fancy was determined  to share with us, the lack of an overall sense of line and direction failed to hold my attention and in fact more than irritated me and left me bored and frustrated.
Genius has its price.
I hoped that we would have a less fragmented more readily coherent second half with Shostakovich and Stravinsky.
A hope immediately dashed by four such monumentally distorted Preludes and Fugues by Shostakovich that I can well imagine our beloved Nikolaeva (the inspiration and dedicatee)smiling as she turns in her grave even though I am sure she   would have fully admired what he was trying but not succeeding to do  .
I defy any one who could dance to this Danse Russe without breaking all their bones in this truly breathtaking account of Petrushka.
Even more irritated by Harriet Smiths translation of Petrushka`s Room,the second movement, in the almost inexistent programme note hidden  amongst a barrage of publicity .
Trifonovs total identification with this second movement  had led to the most successful and accessible interpretation of this work .
The opening of La Semaine Grasse was sheer ethereal magic but once again spoilt for us mortals in not being able to fully comprehend the madly driven performance  that followed that brought the house down.
I stayed only for one encore again very fragmented- maybe a piece of his own certainly under the influence if Medtner.
I could not take any more but would not have missed this glimpse of genius for the world even though hard going for us mortals


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