Keishi Suzuki at St Mary’s Perivale
Another very fine pianists in Hugh Mathers’ series at St Mary’s.
Keishi Suzuki graduated from Tokyo College of Music and went on to study at the Sibelius Academy in Finland and obtained his Masters degree with highest honours at the Liszt Academy in Budapest.
He was the winner of the Liszt Society International Piano Competition in 2017.
This year the competition was hosted for the first in St Mary’s Perivale and it was here that we were able to hear him in recital.
Some very refined playing of great style in works by Debussy,Beethoven and Liszt.
A very well oiled technique ,that I mean as a great compliment and it is something that one often notices in Hungarian born pianists.
I am thinking of course of Geza Anda, who had a very clean and clear sound capable of many colours but always very incisive.
His performances of Schumann Davidsbundler,Chopin Studies ,Beethoven op 110 or the Brahms B flat Concerto are some of the finest on record.
He was a disciple of Ernst von Dohnanyi.
It is then no coincidence that Keishi Suzuki is preparing for his doctorate on Dohnanyi and it is obviously this influence that has very much shaped his musical taste for sound.
It was obvious from the first of two Preludes by Debussy that opened the programme
”Ce qu’a vu le vent d’ouest” was played with a clarity that is very rare to hear in this particular prelude.The pedal at a minimum but just the right amount to create the atmosphere of the slow rising of the west wind building to a tumultuous climax showing off all his remarkable command of the keyboard.
General Lavine was truly” eccentic” and played with a great sense of style that really brought the title to life.
It is interesting to note that Debussy gave titles to the preludes at the end of each prelude.
It is the music that talks and suggests the title.
The mighty Sonata in D op 10 n.3 by Beethoven was given an incisive performance in which Beethoven’s precise indications were scrupulously noted.
A rhythmic drive that did not exclude the many surprises that Beethoven has in store in the first movement.
Great attention to the bass especially in the development section gave a weight and importance to the arresting chord before the reappearance of the first theme.
The beautiful second subject was played with a lyricism that did not interfere with the continual drive that is starting to be so characteristic of Beethoven from this early sonata from op 10 onwards.
The mighty Largo e mesto that followed had a perfect sense of both weight and balance that allowed the melodic line to sing out in a most subtle way with the sudden outbursts played with a rarely heard precision and clarity.
Beethoven’s very particular pedal effects over a long held note were beautifully managed and the lead up to the climax was quite overwhelming in its intensity that made the final notes disappearing into thin air so extraordinary.
The Trio section of the Menuetto -Allegro that followed was played with a quite infectious sense of bucolic fun all the more so for his scrupulous attention to Beethoven’s legato and staccato markings.
The Rondo too was remarkable for his absolute attention to the rests which are every bit as important as the actual notes especially in this surprising movement.
The disappearance of the final notes in a haze of chromatic scales and arpreggios was even more remarkable for his ability to maintain the tempo to the very end with some very subtle colouring and balance between the hands.
The second half of the programme was dedicated to Liszt.Some beautifully poetic playing in the rarely heard Faribolo Pasteur S 236 n.1 and the Schubert /Liszt “Der Muller und der Bach.”
The Hungarian Rhapsodies n.12 and 13 were played with superb virtuosity and sense of style.
The climax of the 12th Rhapsody was played with all the passionate involvement that these bravura showpieces demand and the repeated notes in the 13th played in true virtuoso style.
Widmung by Schumann/Liszt was the beautiful encore offered to a very enthusiastic audience.
Wonderfully shaped with a subtle clarity leading to a sumptuous climax before dying away to a murmur .It showed of all the artistic qualities of this remarkable young pianist