Linn Rothstein with one of the amazing members of this extraodinary venue.At 97 she had been a member of Bletchley Park,with Alan Turing and the Enigma Code.The once top secret home of the World War Two Codebreakers.She translated Hitler’s will!And also made the cakes offered to today’s public with tea.
The Third Ballade op 47 brought the first half of this full length recital to a fitting end.
It is the most pastoral and serene of the four ballades and is a new addition to Vitaly’s repertoire.
It will eventually become even more simple but it was bathed in a sound world that created a wondrous cloud for the endless poetic invention of this most subtle of Chopin’s works.The continual forward movement allowed a clarity of melodic line that created a whole from the beginning to the last note.The gradual build up to the passionate final outpourings was quite masterly and had the audience cheering at the end of this exhilarating performance.
The second half began with a performance of Schumann’s Fantasiestucke op 12.
I have heard him play this work many times.
It brought tears a few years ago to Janina Fialkowka’s eyes.
It has been distilled after many performances to such a degree that each piece is so full of colour and character it reminds me of Rubinstein holding us in his magical hands in his final performances after a lifetime of living with this extraordinary work.
From the liquid sounds on which floats the melody as if from afar in “In the Evening”, to the great passionate outbursts via a continual question and answer of great romantic fervour in “Soaring”.
The supreme sense of balance in “Why.”.A great sense of nostalgic dance of times past in “Whims” and the endless stream of seemless sounds in “In the Night.”A magical transition to the melodic middle section so reminiscent of Kresileriana.
The simple story telling of “Fable” with the rhythmic comments so delicately played and the absolute clarity and total technical assurance of “Dreams Confusion” that seemed to disappear in a puff of smoke.
Making way for the grandiloquence of the “Endof the Song” and the energetic dance leading to the gradual disintigration and heartfelt farewell to this dear friend.
A remarkable tour de force of interpretation through a total mastery of the instrument and an absolute supreme sense of control and balance.
The concert ended with two rarely played works by Liszt.
The Ballade n.1 in D flat .Almost Schumannesque in its opening leading to amazing feats of transcendental piano playing but with subtlety and ravishing sounds embellishing the continuous melodic line.
The Hungarian Rhapsody n.13 in A minor with its call to arms dissolving into a typical hungarian folk melody full of colour and a beguiling sense of rubato.
This was piano playing of refined artistry of an almost forgotten age.