Jamal Aliyev and Daniel Hyun-woo Evans at the Wigmore Hall

Jamal Aliyev and Daniel Hyun-woo Evans at the Wigmore Hall
Jamal Aliyev and Daniel Hyun-Woo Evans at the Wigmore Hall for the Kirckman Concert Society……memories of an evening of great music making from ……….the page turner!
It was Jamal Aliyev who quite rightly said if I really wanted to listen to his concert I should be out front and not turning pages.
He was quite right of course ,but having turned for some of his concerts I was quite happy to turn on this occasion so I could get a good look at his new piano partner.
Norma Fisher had spoken about her remarkable new student Daniel who had come to her Summer London Masterclass course in Manchester(!)and who was now studying for his Masters with her at the Royal College of Music.
“Daniel who?”, I asked .”Oh but I am turning pages for him next week!”, I replied much to her surprise.
Small world!
Very refreshing to see Thomas Carroll and Norma Fisher backstage in the interval to encourage,stimulate and advise their star pupils of whom they were obviously so proud. To give the benefit of their professional advice and experience to two future stars at this important concert in the Wigmore Hall for the renowned Kirckman Concert Society.

Thomas Carroll and Norma Fisher
Jamal Aliyev a student from an early age with Thomas Carroll at the Menuhin School and now at the Royal College of Music where he has graduated with honours performing the Dvorak with their Symphony Orchestra ,and is now embarking on his Masters degree. Another instance of early training from specialist schools like the Menuhin that are able to give a complete education including specialist musical training to gifted young children.
Thomas Carroll is in fact Jamal’s mentor who has followed his progress during the long and difficult growing up period.
Jacqueline Du Pre used to call William Pleeth her cello daddy as it was he had that had followed her progress and rise to fame in much the same way.
Daniel Hyun-woo Evans,Jamal’s new piano partner, had much the same youthful training having studied at Wells Cathedral School from the age of 11.
Of Welsh father and Asian mother he went on to get his B mus from the Guildhall with that remarkable trainer of renowned pianists: Joan Havill.
Now since his meeting with Norma Fisher he too is preparing for his Masters degree at the Royal College.

Danny Norma Fisher and Jamal
In my day there were two very remarkable women Maria Curcio and Ilona Kabos who befriended,helped,encouraged and trained the very finest young pianist in London. Future great artists such as Radu Lupu,Mitsuko Uchida and Rafael Orozco would join their group and frequent each others concerts and generally create a solid warm nucleus in what can be a very dispersive and lonely city.
Norma Fisher although a Londoner was very much befriended by Kabos whom she has never forgotten and a picture of her stands in her studio.
Joan Havill and Norma Fisher have taken just that same place today and Danny has studied with them both .
He has also received great encouragement from Richard Goode .
A better pedigree than that would indeed be hard to find.

Wigmore audience tonight
I was reminded of Artur Rubinstein at his last concert in this very hall in 1976.
He was almost blind and the concert was his last concert performance in a very long and glorious life.
He played to save the hall from demolition .
He spoke to the public saying he had started his career in London in this hall and he was happy to finish it here . Please do not let them pull it down.
That genial director William Lyne had asked for his help.
We all went back stage to thank him for the last time .
Suddenly the Maestro realised there was a beautiful woman standing in front of him.
“I may be blind”,he said ” but not too blind to know a beautiful woman when she is standing in front of me!”
Lauren Bacall was charmed as had been all the other beautiful women in Rubinstein’s long career .

Green room pre concert preparations
So whilst Jamal was correct to say that with me perched on the left and he on the right of the pianist it would be difficult to appreciate fully the concert ,it was obvious even under those circumstances that we were in the presence of a very special duo indeed.
I have heard Jamal Aliyev play with some very remarkable even exquisite pianists but tonight I felt that he had found the one that was just right.

The brilliant pianist Maria Tarasewicz
From the first notes of the Eccles Sonata in G minor it was obvious that there was a cohesion between these two young artists that comes from a true musical understanding between them.
Some very discreet imitation from the piano of Jamal’s beautifully shaped opening Largo immediately made me aware that we were in for a real musical treat.
A Courante and Presto played with such rhythmic authority each player listening intently to the other and adding rather tongue in cheek expertise to their quite transcendental command of this seemingly simple Sonata.
The “Arpeggione” is very much part of Jamal’s repertoire and here playing without the score gave him the flexibility and freedom for this great melodic masterpiece to be expressed with just that freedom allied to supreme mastery and intelligence that the master of lied demands.
An opening of great beauty from the piano and some really beautiful things adding his personality to Jamal’s in a fascinating conversation that held a packed out Wigmore Hall in complete silence.
As they play it together more often it will grow and become even freer within the framework set by Schubert.
A true high wire act that will be even more memorable than this evenings remarkable performance .
Benjamin Britten created just such a bond with Rostropovich and they became completely free .
Bar lines did not exist just heaven sent melodies ready to relish together.

Green Room preparations
From my perch too I could see the total assurance together with complete participation of Jamal’s new musical partner.
A beautiful pianistic hand,so flexible and without affectation.
Just as Jamal looks so right behind his cello.
A truly transcendental performance of the Sonata in G minor op 65 by Chopin. Notoriously difficult here it was given a performance of almost Beethovenian proportions that was exactly right for a work that can sometimes seem overlong and is only now returning quite regularly to the cello repertoire.
Written late in life for his friend Auguste Franchomme they performed only the last three movements together at Chopin’s last concert in Paris on 16th February 1848,a year before  he died.
A quite remarkable ensemble from these two virtuosi.
Listening always intently to each other but riding as one on the great wave of sound that they were producing together. Each one producing not only some transcendentally exciting playing but also in the Largo in particular some playing of extraordinary poignancy and beauty as Chopin’s sublime nocturnal melody was passed from one to the other.
Even Jamal Aliyev was applauding his extraordinary partner after the ovation they received at the end of a very exhilarating Finale Allegro.

Green Room discussions between friends
The Variations on a theme of Rossini by Martinu written rather cheekily in 1942 for Piatigorsky was give a magnificent performance where the charm together with bravura ensemble was a tribute indeed to the great cellist it was written for.
A little nocturne by Tchaikowsky was the only possible encore after such a scintillating performance .
An idyllic calm indeed from two artists on the crest of the wave

Green Room after concert
A green room taken by siege by friends,colleagues and admirers all captured by the page turner on his new telephone.
A well earned party for the “kids” in the Pizzeria later

Fun for all after concert Pizza
A word of thanks must also go to Canan Maxton and Talent Unlimited that has helped and encouraged these two young artists and who brought a real delegation to enjoy the fruits of her untiring labour in helping young artists survive and advance at the start of their career.

Norma Fisher with her star students

Serious discussions amongst friends and colleagues

Norma Fisher offering some valuable advice

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