Maya Irgalina at St Mary’s

Maya Irgalina at St Mary’s
Tuesday 16 July St Mary’s Perivale 2.00 pm
Maya Irgalina (piano)
Bach-Busoni: Chaconne in D minor
Ravel: Sonatine
Rachmaninov:Moments Musicaux Op 16
Maya Irgalina is a pianist from Belarus who won the Gold Medal at the Royal Northern College of Music and has a distinguished record in international piano competitions.

Roger Nellist introducing the concert in Perivale
Another chance to hear the concert from Perivale that was streamed live.
Holiday time not always allowing one the time during the day to listen, it is good to be able to catch up with the wonderful line of superb young musicians at St Mary’s in Perivale.
I am very much involved here in Italy with the Pontine Festival that since the time of Szigeti amd Menuhin has filled the surrounding hills in Latina during the month of July with the sounds of extraordinary music making.
Maya Irgalina is from Belarus and studied at the Belarusian Academy of Music where she was an undergraduate. She then completed the International Artist Diploma at the Royal Northern College of Music. In 2017 she graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She has won numerous scholarships including Leverhulme Trust, Yamaha Foundation, BelSwissBank. She was also the recipient of the “Gaude Polonia” award from the Polish Ministry of Culture, and twice became a laureate of a Scholarship from the Special Fund of the President of Belarus. She has won many prizes in piano competitions, including Dudley, Sydney, Maria Yudina, Scriabin etc. She is the winner of the RNCM’s highest accolade for solo performance – the Gold Medal – and had her Wigmore Hall debut in February 2013 as prize-winner of the Worshipful Company of Musicians.
Her playing was broadcast by ABC (Australia), BBC Radio 3 and Belarusian Radio. In 2015 Belarusian TV made a film about her. Over the last ten years she has performed internationally throughout the UK, Italy, Malta, France, Austria, China, Poland, Georgia, Russia and Belarus, highlights including performances at Wigmore Hall and the Barbican. In the 2017/2018 season, Maya was a Britten Pears Young Artist; she was invited by the President of the Republic of Tatarstan to play Chopin’s First Piano Concerto in Kazan; she performed in the Malta International Arts Festival and the Accademia Filarmonica Romana with soprano Nicola Said; performed solo in the Zürichi Piano Express Festival, the Machynlleth Festival, and represented Yamaha as concert artist at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival.
It was immediately apparent her sensitive musicianship from the very first notes of Busoni’s famous transcription of the Bach Chaconne. Busoni transforming a masterpiece for solo violin into a masterpiece for piano solo.
Brahms had also made a very fine transcription for the left hand alone and in a letter to Clara Schumann described the masterpiece by Bach :” On one stave, for a small instrument, the man writes a whole world of the deepest thoughts and most powerful feelings. If I imagined that I could have created, even conceived the piece, I am quite certain that the excess of excitement and earth-shattering experience would have driven me out of my mind.”
Menuhin described it as “”the greatest structure for solo violin that exists.”
Busoni has been able to recreate the Chaconne on the piano and in a different way from the solo violin and it is a masterpiece in its own right.
Maya played it with just the right sense of elasticity and colour without ever loosing sight of the undercurrent that is constant through all the varying moods.It takes us from the opening statement played so delicately to the great nobility of the final triumphant evolution.The great bass notes in the final bars like a great organ stop never harsh but a full opening up of sound.Some very fine controlled playing with always a perfect sense of balance.The left hand octaves marked “leggiero ma marcato” never allowed to overpower the architectural line that is a constant from the first to the last note.
That is not to say that there were no startling contrast.
The “quasi Tromboni” after the first great climax was a moment of peace and religious serenity.The repeated notes that followed in the gentle build were beautifully played. Like bells pealing.
Her temperament not allowing her to completely follow Busoni’s indication of “nicht eilen” written at just the point were he knew he himself would have had to hold back.
The build up to the final Largamente maestoso was masterly and if there were one or two small blemishes during the percourse it did not detract in any way from a very fine performance.
The Ravel Sonatine found in Maya the perfect player.
With her very sensitive balance and beautiful sense of colour in the opening “modéré” so perfectly “doux et espressif.”
It was ideally suited to one of Ravel’s most delicately refined works.
A magical “Menuet” followed with just the right lilt combined with such beautifully sensitive phrasing and magical sounds for this jewel of a piece.The great washes of sound in the “Animé “that swept around the melodic line allowed to float so beautifully on this cloud of kaleidoscopic sounds.
The six Moments Musicaux op 16 by Rachmaninov was the final work on the programme.
It is an early work written in haste by Rachmaninov who needed money urgently.
But it does not betray any hurry and there are some heartrending moments combined with some startling virtuosity.
The Andante cantabile n.3 was played with a brooding outpouring of Russian feeling.The Adagio sostenuto n. 5 , an elegie played with heartrending nostalgia with the subtle Rachmaninovian harmonies only adding more meaning to the distant parting of a dear friend.
Both were superbly played with great noble sentiment and a sumptuous sense of colour .
The swirling sounds of the Allegretto n.2 showed off her extremely delicate dexterity.The Presto n.4 so often rattled off like a study was here given a shimmerig left hand on which the melodic line was allowed to sing so clearly.It led to a powerful climax of sonorous romantic sounds always with the musical line being so clearly defined.
The passionate nobility of the final Maestoso was a fitting way to end this performance by a real musician.
Not expecting to be asked for more she suprised us with her favourite Scriabin Study op 42 n.5 in C sharp minor.
No doubt inspired by the passionate warmth that she had just generated in Rachmaninov.
Again notable for the beauty of her phrasing and care over the sounds that surrounded the most romantic of melodies.


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