Tyler Hay pays homage to a Genius
I remember in my youth Sir John Barbirolli taking under his wing three young stars :Janet Baker,Jaqueline Du Pre and John Ogdon and helping them to shine as only he could have done.
Unforgettable recordings of The Sea Pictures with Janet Baker,the Elgar concerto with Jaqueline Du Pre and the Tchaikowsky concerto and Cesar Franck Symphonic Variations with John Ogdon.Later Daniel Barenboim joined this elite group as he was joined for life with Jaqueline Du Pre.
A golden era that will never be forgotten.
John Ogdon had studied with Gordon Green in Manchester and became part of an exciting group of young composers that included Harrison Birtwistle and Peter Maxwell Davies.He was able to read at sight the most difficult scores and premiered many of their works.
He was a piano genius.
A giant in every sense who went on to take the Tchaikowsky Gold Medal on the Russian’s own soil.Their star pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy tied for the medal much to the surprise of a world that was looking on in astonishment.
His talent was indeed superhuman and it was the weight of this talent that became too much for a single mind to bear.We watched on in alarm as his behaviour became more and more erratic leading inevitably to a total breakdown.
Only those that were close to him could have known what torment his genius had given him.
It has taken a young pianist,Tyler Hay to discover in the archives of the Royal Northern College the manuscripts of over 200 original works by Ogdon himself.
He has now brought a selection of them to life on a new CD .
It was today that he presented for the Park Lane Group at St Martin in the Fields the mamoth Sonata in three movements dedicated to Stephen Bishop – Kovacevich.
A large scale work in three movements as Tyler rightly says influenced by Prokofiev and Scriabin.
Great clusters of notes and enormous sonorities in the first movement.
A slow movement with whispering trills high up on the keyboard.
A final movement that even Tyler admitted scared the life out of him for the transcendental difficulty of the piano writing.
A lunchtime audience that listened in total silence as the relentless forward movement of the performance completely overwhelmed them.
A quite remarkable tour de force from a young man who I had heard just a few weeks ago give a masterly performance of Schubert on an historic Erard piano from the Cobbe collection at Hatchlands. https://www.facebook.com/notes/christopher-axworthy/tyler-hay-at-hatchlands-for-the-cobbe-collection/10156554648092309/
A short “sorbet” of Liszt.
With a shimmering performance of the “Jeux d’eau a la Villa d’Este” from his newly released CD.
It paved the way for a scintillating Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin.
The same extraordinary virtuosity that he had demonstrated in the Ogdon now put at the service of this sumptuous showpiece full of the spicy jazz idioms that have made it an evergreen favourite.
It was the great teacher Nadia Boulanger who turned Gershwin away from her class in Paris saying that she did not want to ruin his quite unique natural talent.
A sparkling crystal clear performance of a Scarlatti Sonata in B minor brought this extraordinary recital to an end.
Greeted by many of the public afterwards and even offered the possibility of a concert at the Shalin Liu Performance Centre in Massachusetts such was the impact of his performances on the public today.