Beethoven Piano Society of Europe Rebecca Leung at St Barnabas

Beethoven Society of Europe Rebecca Leung at St Barnabas
Rebecca Leung at St Barnabas Ealing
in Association with the Beethoven Society of Europe
Finalist in the Junior Section of the BSE competition there is certainly nothing junior about her piano playing.
At eighteen she is just about to transfer from the Junior to the Senior Royal Academy of Music where she is studying with that renowned teacher from the Gordon Green School:Christopher Elton
She presented each piece with a short but well researched talk on Beethoven,Chopin,Debussy and Ravel.
Let me just say that the French music ignited a passion and fantasy which can often happen with young musicians who suddenly discover that they have in their hands the means to play this exciting multi coloured repertoire.
It is the difficult job of the teacher to find just the pieces that can open that secret door.
La Cathedrale Engloutie played with some superb technical control allied to some sumptuous sounds on this well used Boesendorfer piano.
A piano with so much still left to say in it for those who know how to delve deep into its soul and wallow into its sumptuous bass notes and seemingly infinite depth of sound.
Feux d’artifice too showed of her sense of colour and the apparition of the Marseillaise at the end over some beautiful shimmering sounds was every bit as telling as the the great Cathedrale Engloutie had been arising out of the mist.
It had ignited the fantasy of this young musician and she was totally involved in a way that her Beethoven and Chopin were not.
The so called “Moonlight” Sonata was beautifully prepared as one would expect from a student of Christopher Elton but together with the Chopin it lacked the weight needed to project the great melodic lines in the way that will come more naturally to her with maturity.
The last movement of the Beethoven was very excitingly played and if rather overpedalled she was not helped by the very elusive acoustic of St Barnabas.
She kept the momentum from beginning to end never wallowing in sentimentality or allowing her to be distracted from the goal of the final few bars cadenza.
The same with the Chopin Fantasie in F minor where the very complex climaxes were very impressively played .
Less pedal and more weight will come with her future studies but there is so much to admire in her playing already that it is only obviously a question of maturing and perfecting her already quite considerable musical and interpretative understanding.
Jeux d’eau offered as an encore to a large insistent audience produced again some magical sounds that appeared so natural and convincing .
The shimmering water disappearing as it had begun from a mere murmur.
She said that she was preparing the Ravel Concerto too for future performance so she is obviously a name that we will be hearing a lot more of in the not too distant future.

Doctor Hough’s Surgery

Doctor Hough’s Surgery at the Royal Academy of Music in London
Wonderful to be back in my old Alma Mater in the Dukes Hall where 45 years earlier almost to the day I was awarded the Mc Farren Gold Medal .
A wonderful lifetime in Rome promoting young musicians and the not so young masters sadly neglected in Italy.
As well as producing plays .
My wife was knighted by President Ciampi for her extraordinary work.
The only woman actress to build and run her own theatre for over thirty years .
” We have been made a Dame” she would proudly say
Something for which I too was awarded quite unexpectedly an ARAM.
Someone had obviously spilled the beans in England as out of the blue a big envelope arrived by post in the theatre next to St Peters Square that I built and ran for over thirty years with my wife the renowned actress Ileana Ghione.
Our great friend Rosalyn Tureck reminded us that whilst it is nice to receive recognition from people who seem to be oblivious to the Art world .
It is the work that counts and our mission in life.
That is the true fulfillment and satisfaction!
How right she was always!
Here I was this evening to listen to the down to earth words of wisdom from Stephen Hough ,a student of my old teacher Gordon Green .
The pianist that Cherkassky ,who played over ten recitals for us in Rome,esteemed more than any other of the younger generation.
And now has been rightly hailed worldwide as one of the great pianist of his generation.
A bit like a doctors surgery with some remarkably talented young pianists bringing their problems to Dr Hough for a remedy.
Ten minutes a visit and an excellent way to really help in a very constructive way.
Lovely affectionate foto shoot brought to a conclusion the end of year studies for these very talented young artists about to go out into the world to seek their fortune as I had all those years ago.
Good luck and best wishes to them all:
Arisa Onoda,Antoine Preat,Weng Soon Tee,HyunJeong Hwang,Linhan Sung,Francesca Orlando,Anna Szalucka,Ke Ma

Tyler Hay in Perivale

Tyler Hay at St Mary’s Perivale
Tyler Hay at St Mary`s Perivale
Very impressive performances of great assurance by Tyler Hay.
Only 23 he plays and talks with such authority he reminds me a great deal of the young Leslie Howard whose intellectual and pianistic abilities amazed Guido Agosti and many others from an early age .
Tyler another of the amazing talents from the school of Tessa Nicholson at the Purcell School.
Completing his studies with Frank Wibaut,student himself of Cyril Smith and the winner of the first BBC Piano Competition many years ago and now a distinguished teacher at the Royal Northern School of Music .
Winner of the esteemed Gold Medal at the RNCM as well as the Royal Overseas League and the Liszt Society Competitions.
A great intellect searching out always new scores to bring before the public.
On many occasions the most impossibly difficult scores of the great composer virtuosi of the past such as Liszt and his rival Thalberg.
In this he is very similar to that other fine pianist with a searching mind and world expert on Alkan and Thalberg Mark Viner (also from the school of Tessa Nicholson and another student of Cyril Smith Neil Immelman at the RCM)
Small world!
Tyler had found in the archive at the RNCM five boxes of the scores of that great pianist composer John Ogdon and had asked his widow for permission to perform them.
He will infact next week be recording some of them in Amsterdam ,in the presence of Ogdon’s widow the renowned pianist Brenda Lucas , for release on CD.
Today he chose to give us a sample of Ogdon’s Variations and Fugue.
One of the most difficult scores he has ever tackled of a pianist who came to the fore when he took the world by storm as joint winner with Vladimir Askenazy of the Tchaikowsky Competition in the 60’s.
An amazing career as a virtuoso performer playing also some of the most impossible scores of Busoni and his contemporary composer friends.
Such a genius was consumed by mental health problems and died whilst only in his early 50’s.
It has taken a young 23 year old with the capacity and intellectual curiosity of an Ogdon to present these unpublished scores to the public at last.
The Variations and Fugue an enormously complex piece requiring the most super human feats of pianism .
A work of great effect that held the audience in awe for the twenty minute duration
A wish to hear it a second time was not possible on this occasion so I much looking forward to the CD to get to know these neglected scores of one of the giants of our time and a student of my old piano teacher the much missed Gordon Green .
The programme started with a very rarely performed Tarantelle op 65 by Thalberg
( The great virtuoso rival of Liszt who amassed such a fortune and retired to Naples where recently his tomb was scandalously desecrated ) .
A short show piece of quite simple stucture played with all the virtuosity that it was required to show off .
The other works on the programme by Franz Liszt .
The rarely heard march like Ballade n.1 given a very rhythmic performance slightly lacking in the scintillating colours that are needed to bring this rather mundane march to life.
The famous Mephisto Waltz was given a very assured reading .
No histrionics or rhetoric this was a fine musicians reading maybe lacking in the demonic energy that Tyler had obviously reserved for the Ogdon that preceeded this group and left him and us rather drained.
The Liszt Variations on Bach’s Weinen,Klagen,Sorgen,Zagen .
A monumental piece written in memory of Liszt’s two children Daniel and Blandine that had tragically died.
Full of extraordinary colour with a great sense of the architectural line .
The choral a moving contrast for its stillness and austerity to the virtuoso outer sections.
A song with out words in F sharp minor showed off this fine pianists refined sense of balance and innate musicality .

Dreaming with Chloe Mun

Dreaming with Chloe Mun
Chloe Mun Gold medal winner of Geneva and Busoni International Piano competitions at St Mary`s Perivale in the remarkable series of great young pianists of Dr Hugh Mather
It was last October that I heard Chloe Mun play at Rome University as part of her prize for winning the Gold Medal at the 2015 Busoni Competition in Bolzano.(…/…)
Part of that prize was also a concert in London for the Keyboard Charitable Trust whose founders Noretta Conci-Leech and John Leech have long been associated with the Busoni Competition listening to all the competitors and offering encouragement and help to many great talents that do not necessarily have all the requisites to carry off a Gold Medal but with the right sort of help that the Trust can offer can gain the necessary experience and time to allow their talent to mature and grow.
Romanovsky,Lifits,Leone,Cao,Rimoldi are only a few of the many that have been helped in this way and have since made their way successfully in what can be a very precarious career .
Only recently Rodolfo Leone and Bolai Cao noted in the Busoni Competition have won first and third prizes in the Beethoven International Piano Competition in Vienna.
Jiyeong Mun – known to the musical world as Chloe Mun had all the requisites at the age of only 19 to carry home the Gold Medals of the Geneva and Busoni International Piano Competitions .
A feat only once repeated and that was by a 16 year old girl by the name of Martha Argerich!
Chloe is not the typical child prodigy for she came from a very disadvantaged family in South Korea .
Both parents are disabled and receive only a state subsidy and she began studying the piano at her own initiative.
Despite her family’s economic hardships she soon decided that she wanted to take her piano career seriously,refusing to be discouraged.
Because she did not have a piano at home she practised either at school or in a neighbourhood church. She even discontinued traditional schooling in order to spend more time at the piano and subsequently graduated on her own well ahead of her peers.
It was in 2009 at the age of 14 that she won First prize at the Art Dream Competition organized by the Korean Business Council,which allows people in the lower echelons of society access to higher artistic education.
It was on this occasion that she met Daejin Kim.
Winner of the Cleveland Casadesus International Competition in 1985 .
Since 1994 he has moved back to Korea with his family and teaches at the Korean National University.
He has been on the jury of many prestigious competitions and his students have gone on to win many international competitions.
Sunwook Kim winner of the Haskil ( 2005 ) and Leeds International Competitions (2006)and now Chloe Mun winner of the Geneva (2014 ) and Busoni ( 2015).
Since that fateful day in 2009 Daejin Kim has been her teacher and mentor and she is currently studying with him at The Korean National University.
Thanks to the enormous generosity and knowledgeable enthusiasm of Hugh Mather not only was Chloe invited to play at Steinway Hall for the KCT – not to be missed on Wednesday 21st June at 19h – but our remarkable Dr Mather ,having heard her remarkable performances on you tube, immediately offered her another engagement in his prestigious piano recital series in Perivale.
Even changing his holiday plans and offering hospitality to this still only 21 year old young lady in order to make her 7000  mile trip from Korea even more worthwhile.
We say in Italy it is the facts that count and time and time again Dr Mather has proven himself to be a real benefactor of these remarkable talents that are emerging as never before.
He was not disappointed as no one was of those who were present in the charming little wooden church in the middle of Ealing Golf Course on what must be the hottest day of the year.
I congratulated Dr Mather on his new piano .
New he exclaimed but it is the same one that everyone plays on but in her hands it became a real magic box .
A box full of the most wondrous dreams because that is what we were treated to from the first to the last note .
I had heard her in October and noted her pianistic and musical perfection but felt it lacked an experience of life . Of a story to tell …her story that would only come with experience of life.
But now less that a year later here was all the same perfection but allied to a sense of wonder and beauty without any rhetoric or histrionics that I would say it was one of the most sublime recitals that I have heard in recent years because so unexpected.
A sense of balance that allowed the piano to sing without any forcing.
A sheen and sumptuous quality to the sound that one would only think possible on the very finest German pianos.
This ladies and gentlemen was a much used Yamaha.
I am reminded of Richter who had no preference for a piano for he wanted to dive down deep into the instrument to discover its hidden secrets and then seduce and engulf the instrument holding us in a trance as only great artists can do.
It takes total dedication and as we can see from Chloe’s difficult past it is through this total determination together with expert guidance at the right time that has brought her to the pinnacle of pianistic perfection.
Her opening Galuppi Sonata T.27 in C major had the same crystaline purity that Michelangeli revealed to us in this very sonata.
It takes great control of balance to allow the melody to sing in such a pure way seemingly without pedal because so subtle.
So few notes but so pregnant with meaning.
Truly art that conceals art.
This little three movement Sonata became a jewel in her hands.
Ornaments so unobtrusively executed that one was not aware of the transcendental difficulty of allowing them to be part of the overall musical line.
What a wonder these sonatas and those of Scarlatti can be on the piano when played in such a simple refined artistocratic manner .
Amazing control of sound in the Images Book one by Debussy.
The washes of sound in Reflets dans l’eau were quite miraculous in their unobtrusiveness just as they are or at least should be in Ravels Ondine .
This is water cascading never overpowering as so often is heard in this piece.
The stillness she brought to the ending was quite magical and on this piano a major miracle.
Hommage a Rameau I have heard many times from Rubinstein and it has always remained with me for the subtle colouring and aristocratic very french sound that could be so telling here as in Poulenc .
Full of pathos and robustness but never romantic or sentimental .
The wondrous coda and complete change of colour – as though on another planet .
One of those magical moments that are so rare .
Where you feel the interpreter is in awe of the sounds that are being conjured out of this box of tricks.
All this I was reminded of in the performance by Chloe today – total magic.
Head down in total concentration .
The transcendental pianism in the Mouvements was only to be marvelled at.
Where the clarity of the continuous mouvements was so quiet that the melodic line was allowed to speak as very rarely it is heard.
Starting from nothing and disappearing to nothing a real feat that only a great musical mind with a wonderful ear could have achieved.
If this was remarkable little did we expect to be transported into the world of dreams in the second half.
For that is what is was .
” The Poet Speaks ” so apt a title for the last piece in Schumann’s Scenes of Childhood . The dual personalities of Florestan and Eusebius through whom the poet Schumann could speak.
But Schumann’s music needs a special sound it is neither Beethoven,Schubert or Chopin.
It is a quite unique sound world that Guimar Novaes and Clara Haskil understood so well
There has to be a special sheen to the sound that can be both sumptuous and voluptuous as it can be rhythmic and passionate .
But it is above all lyrical and it was this aspect that Chloe understood so well .
From the opening notes of the Arabeske op 18 that can sound so mundane and ordinary. The same theme repeated endelessly inbetween contrasting episodes.
Here today we were treated to an Arabeske that seemed to come out of thin air with the contrasting episodes so enveloped in the overall line that each appearance of the theme was transformed and seemingly ever more beautiful.
Disolving into a coda of such magic that it can only be likened to Schumann’s own Liedekreis.
What to say of the Schumann Fantasie.
An outpouring of love for Clara.
Dedicated to Franz Liszt who famously sight read the fantasie infront of the composer. Liszt dedicated his B minor Sonata in return.
Both are pinnacles of the Romatic era.
Having heard a near perfect performance from Chloe in Rome but one in which I had been strangely untouched by her pianistic and musical perfection.
I was not expecting the overwhelming musical experience that she offered today.
Here was all the passion that had been missing but allied to such inteliigence that allowed her to control the sound with such architectural prudence that when the great climax at the end of the middle section Im Legenden-Ton emerged it was the same overwhelming experience that I remember from Clifford Curzon that true master of the great Romantic tradition.
The dotted rhythms that can be so irritating in the second movement were played today with such a sense of line and a quite unique sound that allowed the music to sing in a single breath.
All leading to the last statement of the march- Massig indeed- and an overwhelming coda played as a real musician but with a truly virtuoso technique .
Bringing the second movement to a tumultuous ending.
Such was the concentration of the audience that where there would normally be unwanted applause here there was total silence .
A silence pregnant with meaning that after an almost unbearable few moments the magical Langsam getragen entered as if by magic .
A magic kaleidoscope of colours but always with that sheen ( so reminiscent of Novaes) that carried us along in the dream- her dream- Schumann’s dream .
Leading to the sublime almost unbearable beauty of the final two pages.
Gradually unfolding to the  climax and gentle dropping off to the final chords that were played with and ever more magical diminuendo.
It made one realise what a love Schumann had for Clara in Chloe’s hands today.
Triana from Iberia by Albeniz played with all the sunshine and charm that this piece can contain in the right hands.
Never just note spinning but bands of colours that she seemed to conjure out of thin air .
What could she play after such a feast as that .
Widmung the song by Schumann transcribed by Liszt .
One of the finest I have ever heard because it was a song with all the passion and heartfelt confessions allied to such a sumptuous subtle sound that this truly was the highlight for me of a remarkable recital.
At a foto shoot after the tea and cakes that are so much part of this English institution Chloe sat down and played Traumerei – dreaming by Schumann to satisfy the fotographers ….we left in tears .
Thank you Chloe and dear Hugh for allowing us to experience such wonders.
Hats off to the International Piano Competitions too.
Busoni in particular for being able to choose such a complete artist from all the wonderful musicians that were on parade.
I am the first to be sceptical but also the first to be convinced and seduced.
Hurry to Steinway Hall at 19h on Wednesday to hear the same recital repeated.
Free entrance until capacity is reached.
A glass of two of wine with the artist and the remarkable founders of the Keyboard Charitable Trust that has done so much to bring just such talent to the fore.

The Amazing Mr Levit

Some thoughts on the remarkable Mr Levit.
Having heard such good reports about Igor Levit from musicians whose opinions I trust completely I was very keen to be able to hear this young pianist for myself.
His Beethoven Sonata series in the Wigmore hall where musical integrity and real musicianship are paramount requirements for a very discerning audience was sold out .
A hall where artists of the quality of Andras Schiff,Angela Hewitt,Graham Johnson,Stephen Isserlis,Paul Lewis reign may give an indication of the unique values that are upheld in this hallowed hall by the democratic Mr Gilhooly.
A hall that has gone from strength to strength ,never compromising its fundamental principles ,since that famous series in 1976 devised by William Lyne to try to stop this much loved hall from being knocked down and redeveloped.
I well remember Artur Rubinstein after beseeching the audience at his last appearance in public not to allow them to pull the hall down where he had started and finished his career.
Now almost blind he opened the doors to his adoring public to say a last farewell. He may have been blind but not too blind to notice the beautiful Lauren Bacall that had come backstage to embrace her hero.
Mr Levit obviously very much the flavour of the month and having heard recently varied reports of his “Emperor” with the LSO I was very pleased to see that the BBC were transmitting live his final recital of the last three Beethoven Sonatas.
Armed with a radio ,wine and the Henle Urtext I awaited in the leafy glades of Kew on a wonderful balmy night for the first magical strains of op.109.
Having much experience of the PR boys promotion of the most remarkably talented musicians but often at variants with my own musical values.
So on/off knob prominently at the ready!
Was it not Igor Pogorelich,one of the greatest young pianists the world has known ,who had the jury of the Chopin Competition fighting amongst themselves .
Martha Argerich walked out in protest that such a pianist could be eliminated from an International Competition where this contestant could undoubtedly play better than any of the distinguished jury members.
Should a competition be judged on musical integrity or on phenomenal pianistic capability?
Are competitions a fair judge of true artistry.
None of the Wigmore Hall stars has run off with a Gold Medal from International competitions yet they are applauded worldwide.
This created a scandal that infact launched Pogorelich onto the world stage where the public could decide for themselves depending on their values also helped by his film star good looks that had a great appeal for a less discerning public.
Lang lang too has an appeal for a vast public and although he is not always able to maintain his musical principles he has brought music to the masses .
These are in fact entertainers and not necessarily to be confused with great interpreters whose sole aim is to transmit the composers wishes.
Occasionally we are treated to an artist that can combine both.
In my day and for many others of my generation this was epitomised in Artur Rubinstein.
Having heard recently much admired and lauded pianists such as Bozhanov and Trpceski.
Amazing as they are we beg to differ on musical matters.
Was it not Deutsche Grammophon who sent to Perlemuter for some words of praise for the launch of the extraordinary recording of Pogorelich playing some major works of Ravel with whom Perlemuter had studied.
“Quesque c’est que ca” exclaimed Perlemuter who had spent a lifetime studying and worrying over interpretative details in the scores.
I need not have worried for here from Levit was extraordinarily accomplished playing. Scrupulous attention to the composers indications and a super human sense of colour and a musicianship that had one referring to the score to check details that were truly there in works that one has heard many times before.
Hardly a false note in the entire 75 minutes of this pinnacle of the pianistic repertoire.
A wonderful way to spend a summer evening and I put the fact that there did not seem to be much magic or atmosphere down to the fact that the radio produces canned not fresh food as Gilels was fond of saying.
However a much esteemed friend and indeed a world authority on all there is to know of pianists alive or dead said the following wise and measured words that confirmed my feeling of why was I so moved by Perahia`s op 111 the other night when here there was not just the last sonata on it’s own but the last three but I remained astonished but totally unmoved.
“Struggle” was the word that put meaning back into an uneasy feeling where words failed me.
“Look Chris “,he said “I sat through the second performance at ten , a repeat of the 7.30 performance that had been added due to great public demand.
I was amazed and astonished by the remarkable technical and musical command .
I kept thinking of how amazing it was to play these three works so perfectly for the second time in the same evening.
A quick cup of tea between performances and he could play them all over again.
But Chris I remember in the 70`s the monumental performance of Claudio Arrau where together we had scaled the heights of this musical pinnacle.
We came out totally exhausted and satisfied that we had been through a draining,unforgettable musical experience together.
Never for a second was there time to think of the remarkable musical and technical prowess of this master.
Mr Levit on the other hand could have repeated them all night long.
“Water off a remarkable duck`s back indeed”.
How do you teach struggle?
What is soul?
It is the domain of the truly great to look on in amazement at what they are moulding in their hands.
Only time and experience of life will tell.
We are indeed in the hands of the Gods.
In the meantime play on Mr Levit I too shall be there to follow your remarkable career

Goldberg alla Rondeau

The Goldberg Variations of Jean Rondeau at the Cobbe Collection at Hatchlands.
Jean Rondeau gave his last performance this week of the Goldberg variations for the Keyboard Charitable Trust beautifully organised by Dr Elena Vorotko co artistic director and originator of the Historic Keyboard section.
Last night in Handel House in central London and today at Hatchlands the National Trust Stately Home where the Cobbe collection is permanently on display.
All the instruments in working order and are regularly played as they were in their day by Mozart,Bach,Chopin,Liszt,Bizet,Beethoven etc.
An amazing collection on display with Alec Cobbe on hand to play each one with loving care for a collection that he has assembled over fifty years.
Today Jean Rondeau played the Goldberg on a double manual English instrument of 1787.
To a full hall of discerning listeners he held everyone of them in his extraordinary hands for exactly the hour requested.
Several minutes of total silence greeted the final magical apparition of the Aria.
A silence created by the total concentration that this young “lion of the keyboard” demands from the first to the last note in the extraordinary journey he takes us on where the rhythmic pulse never wavers for a second but allows such subtle colouring.
A sense of rubato of such aristocratic authority of a quite amazing maturity for a young man who is still only twently six.
He was obviously born to play the harpsichord and it was from the age of six when he first heard one on the radio that he was allowed to take his first lessons studying with Blandine Verlet for over ten years.
Studies in basso continuo,organ,piano,jazz ,improvisation ,composition and conducting followed to create this complete musician who is striding the world today.
The youngest performer ever at 21 to take first prize in the Bruges International Harpsichord Competition his career has since blossomed throughout Europe,North and South America and Asia.
Such is the mastery of this young man that the performance today was totally different from that of the other day in a private performance that he gave for a few lucky connoisseurs.
They were regaled by a short improvisation to prepare the atmosphere for the magical apparition of Bach’s extraordinary Aria and were then treated at the end to two contrasting versions of the Quodlibet finale where Bach combines two popular tunes to bring these variations to their triumphant conclusion tongue in cheek before repeating with such simplicity the magical opening Aria.
The beautiful 25th variation played with a simplicity leading to the almost animal excitement of extraordinary virtuosity in the variations that lead up to the final outpouring that is the final 29th variation ,here played with an almost improvisatory freedom .
The Quodlibet that tonight he chose to play or at least the atmosphere he chose to give it was of an almost romantic pastoral that led with even more pathos to the simple monocrome statement that he chose to give of the extraordinary final statement of the repeat of the opening aria .
Wonderfully clear rhythmic statement of the first variation which set the pace for this astonishing masterpiece commissioned from Bach by Count Goldberg for his insomnia needy of some nocturnal entertainment .
Unusually pastoral type 8th variation gave just the right respite from the crystal clear 7th Tempo di Giga or the taught almost militaristic trills of the 10th.
Extreme command of the 14th variation of really transcendental difficulty (especially on an English harpsichord as Jean pointed out afterwards) created just the contrast with the poignantly beautiful 13th.
The great French Overture of the 16th played with such majesty opening up the perfect pathway for the ascent to the incredible excitement generated up to the final explosion in the 29th.
The sheer innocence of the Alla breve that gives only a slight hint of what is to follow lit up to perfection like a beacon pointing the way .
A truly fascinating journey from this artist who only started to prepare them for performance six months ago.
I well remember Rosalyn Tureck playing them in London in 1972 the first half of the concert a complete performance on the harpsichord and the second on the piano .
Bach knew the piano she stated quite clearly in the programme and indeed repeated by Alec Cobbe today.
She repeated them on my insistence in my theatre in Rome after an absence of almost thirty years from the concert platform choosing to withdraw from the concert platform in order to dedicate herself to a more complete study of Bach in Oxford.
That monumental performance lasted one hour and twenty minutes – quite rightly she was dubbed the High Priestess of Bach by Harold Shoenberg and Rubinstein quipped that Tureck made Bach box office.
She was at the height of her powers and created the Tureck Bach Institute in Oxford of which I was honoured to be a Trustee .
A symposium held each year with scientists ,mathemeticians and musicians all dedicated to the understanding of the mutifaceted genius that was Bach.
We have been waiting a long time for a High Priest for the new generation and there is no doubt in my mind that we now have one in our midst.
Simply extraordinary .

17th International Pharos Chamber Music Festival- The Shoe Factory Nicosia

Vitaly Pisarenko at the Shoe Factory 17th International Pharos Festival
17th International Pharos Chamber Music Festival. Vitaly Pisarenko at the Shoe Factory Nicosia
“Electrifying” were Yvonne Georgiadou‘s words ,the Artistic director, as an elated Garo Keheyan Founder and President repeated on Vitalys second visit to this remarkable cultural centre.
A real oasis with a sold out recital in the presence of the former President of Cyprus and many important personalities including the British High Commissioner all applauding this extraordinary recital at the opening of the festival that includes such artists as Kholodenko,Babayan and Sudbin
A long and difficult programme followed in complete silence by a sold out hall mesmerised by the great transcendental artistry of this modest young man:
Schubert Drei Klavierstucke D.946
Schumann Fantasiestucke op 12
Liszt two Ballades S 170 and 171
and two Hungarian Rhapsodies n.10 and 13 the least respectable side of Liszt as Charles Rosen very aptly described them.
The very complex Schubert so difficult to play convincingly such is the mutitude of ideas and seemless melodic outpouring .
Great concentration is required where every note is so pregnant with meaning that he who manages this high wire act without falling off can treat the listener to an unforgettable experience.
It requires a great range of colours from what can often be in the wrong hands a monochrome experience.
Vitaly held the audience in his hands from the very first whispered energetic recurring motif transformed into the most sublime episodes from the pen of one of the greatest poets of the piano.
Even greater poetry than the lieder where it is always the music that has the last word where even the greatest poets cannot quite reach with words alone.
The second Klavierstucke played with a disarming simplicity and sensual sense of colour. One could almost sense the perfume created in this rarified air transformed in the third piece into a frenzied excitement played with the passionate involvement of someone who is a true master.
The sheer beauty of sound in Des Abends that opens Schumanns Fantasiestucke showed what a master of balance this pianist is .
The delicately heart rending shaping of the melodic line only possible if the accompaniment is played at a seemingly impossible pianissimo but with a bass that sustains and opens up the magical sounds that are there for the real poet.
Rubinstein often used to hold us in his magic hands just as we were treated to tonight.
In der Nacht and Traumes Wirren played with such command that allowed the audience to be swept along on this mutifaceted journey .
The coda of the last piece,Ende vom Lied, played after an almost unbearable silence which allowed the disintigration of the melodic line to dissappear as it had appeared as if from afar almost thirty minutes earlier.
What a journey greeted with great enthusiasm by the former President of Cyprus .
A man of great culture who likened this recital to a Sokolov or Trifonov and was anxious to find out about Vitalys CD ‘s to add to his collection.
He was very surprised to learn that there are as yet no CD’s of this remarkably modest young pianist top prize winner at Utrecht and Leeds.
Fast making a name for himself amongst his colleagues and connoisseurs of real artistry.
Hats off to the Keyboard Charitable Trust and to the remarkable Garo and Yvonne at the cultural centre that is the Shoe Factory for recognising such talent before the world becomes his oyster.
The second half dedicated to Liszt.
Not the usual barnstorming that we are too often subjected to but the intelligent man’s Liszt of an Arrau or Agosti.
The rarely if ever heard first ballade under the title of “Le chant du croise'” with a set of variations on the crusader’s song with such pianistic feats thrown of with such ease and charm .
The second Ballade a real tone poem in which the chromatic scales of the left hand built up to a tremendous crescendo but by a subtle sense of real musicianship was never allowed to overshadow the main line that was maintained throughout the most technically difficult passages that abound.
The disarming understatement of the main theme that seemed almost as though it was being overheard was then treated to the most diabolic transformations of really quite breathtaking proportions such was the transcendental virtuosity put to the service of this great story that Liszt recounts in this remarkable piece.
Disappearing as it had begun this performance alone could be singled out as the highpoint in what was a remarkable recital.
Only in the studio of Guido Agosti at the Chigiana in Siena have I heard such a Liszt of such subtle intelligent musicianship allied to a complete technical command that did not allow for any rhetorical showmanship but interpreted what Liszt had actually written and intended.
His edition ,after all, of Beethoven Sonatas as his transcriptions of the Symphonies shows exactly his care and attention to the composers wishes that are all too rarely applied by other barnstorming pianists to his own works.
The two Hungarian Rhapsodies amongst the least known were thrown of with all the charm and ease that the showman Liszt used to woo his doting audiences with and that made him the pop star idol that he was to despise in later life when he chose to show the world the profetically innovative composer that he was with his genius seeing far into the direction music would take in the future.
The glissandi in the 10th Rhapsody played with an ease and charm as the enormous but never harsh sonorities in the left hand of the 13th were overpowering and led to a standing ovation from this very discerning audience.
A single encore of the little Melodie by Rachmaninov full of nostalgia and such delicate sumptuous sonorities it was the ideal way to close nearly two hours of remarkable musicianship from a master craftsman .