Cristian Sandrin at St Mary’s with encore performance

Cristian Sandrin at St Mary’s with encore performance
Some superb sounds from this young Romanian pianist playing for the Keyboard Trust,invited by Hugh Mather into the mecca that he and his team have created in this beautiful little 12th century redundant church.
Redundant no longer thanks to this retired physician who dedicates his time to helping all the remarkable young musians that flock to London from all parts of the world.
I remember Cherkassky saying that although travelling the world continuously until well into his 80’s,London was always the indisputed capital for music and the only place to be.
Cristian is a natural musician where music pours out of him without any artefacts.
The same physical stature of an Ashkenazy he too looks as though he was born to play the piano.
All his physical movements only underlined the sounds that he was able to conjure out of the piano.
This well used but lovingly looked after Yamaha piano he exclaimed afterwards to Dr Mather how much he had enjoyed playing it.
It is not an easy piano but in the hands of a true musician we can be convinced, as he was, that in that moment it is the only instrument for him.
Richter used to say he did not want to choose a piano but he loved delving into any instrument and learning like a true Don Giovanni the secret path to seduction!
Cristian certainly did that with a sumptuous muticoloured performance of Ravel’s most elusive of scores that is “Miroirs”.

Cristian with Dr Mather
From the moths flitting around the piano to the bells resounding in the distance.
The great swishing of the ocean waves and the decided authority of the Jester.
It was all here in a multifaceted performance that kept us spellbound.
That is until the rude awakening of Ginastera`s much neglected Sonata n.1 op 22.
Bombastic,passionate,delicate and hypnotic it was all here but never resorting to the usual transatlantic metallic sounds that has been inflicted on it (like Prokofiev)for too long in lesser hands.
The C minor nocturne by Chopin op 48 n.1 offered as an encore showed a heart that beated as beautifully as his head reasoned like the born musician he demonstrated to us today.
The Mozart sonata in C K 330.
Played with such style and shape.
Sometimes lacking in that absolute clarity of articulation that can make even the fastest passages sing.
I was not always in agreement with his ornaments especially in the slow movement but then I had just heard Mitsuko Uchida play it in Perugia with a beauty and perfection that I never expect to hear or wish for again.
As she said ,she lives in the 20th century and for her a concert should remain only a beautiful memory.
It certainly was that today too.
Cristian has been invited back to Perivale in the renowned Tuesday afternoon series created by Dr Hugh, his wife Dr Felicity and Roger Nellist.
Tuesday 2nd April from 2 to 3.Timed so beautifully to avoid rush hour but it is also streamed on the St Mary`s website.
And so it was another recital only confirming even more resoundingly the first impression of his concert for the Keyboard Trust last month.

Spring comes to Perivale
Spring has come to this beautiful little church immersed in the greenery of Ealing Golf Course.
It was a revelation to hear Schubert’s “big” A minor Sonata D.845 from the hands of a true musician.
I have never thought of this sonata as being Schubert’s “Pastoral” Sonata but such was the range of sounds and use of the pedal by Cristian Sandrin it all fitted so well into place.
As one was aware in his previous recital Cristian is a real musician but listening to this very long and difficult sonata this was a performance seen through the eyes not only of a true thinking musician but above all of a poet.
A beautiful haze was created by a subtle use of the pedals in the final of the first movement as the horns show us Schubert’s vision of pastures green.
The extreme delicacy of the Andante and a very telling subtle rubato was quite irresistible and reminiscent of so many of Schubert’s Lied.
The trio of the Scherzo was played with a great sense of colour and again the timeless mist of Schubert’s countryside.

programme of the 2nd April
The Rondo just drifting in and as in the G major sonata, Schubert’s sublime melodic invention was added to such moving effect contrasting with some truly transcendental passages played with great authority.
Thirty five minutes of sublime music where time stood still.
A great difference from another concert in the Barbican where a never ending performance of Schubert’s last sonata unfolded in a record 55 minutes with an audience clapping after every movement hoping that this was perhaps the end !

spring bursting out all over in this historic graveyard
The concert had opened with the Haydn Sonata in C Hob XVI:50.
It was Anton Rubinstein that said the pedal was the soul of the piano and it was never more evident than in the recital today.
The music box effect in the first movement was beautifully realised in the true syle of the day.
A very rhythmic performance of the Allegro but with some very subtle contrasts in dynamics passing almost unnoticed as the music was allowed to unfold so naturally.
The Adagio was allowed to unfold like the opening of a great opera.
So delicately phrased, Haydn’s great drama was allowed to unfold with such an affecting simplicity and wonderful sense of balance.
The playful interruptions of the final Allegro were played so spiritedly it shaped so perfectly the closing notes of this absolute jewel of a sonata.
The Chopin Nocturne op 48 n.1 I have spoken about in the previous recital but the beauty of sound seemed today to have reached even greater heights.
As had the poetry of the ending as is disappeared in a subtle mist of sound bringing to an end so movingly this true little tone poem.
Oiseaux Triste was the encore offered in place of his original idea of Paganini -Schumann that he preferred to keep for the next day in a piano festival in Germany.
A beautiful performance that brought this truly musical afternoon to a fitting end.

St Mary’s today
A full house but much more than was apparent to us present today.
The concert was streamed live worldwide to a far greater audience than could ever fit into this beautiful musical mecca just 20 minutes from the centre of London.
Our host of ceremonies Roger Nellist was taking the place of Dr Hugh Mather who was listening with his grandchildren on Cyprus.
He was having a well earned break, during the school half term ,from the hundreds of concerts that he and his colleague promote so generously each year.

Old schoolfriends united after 40 years on wings of song

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