Andrew Yiangou- Liszt is alive and well and in Ealing!

Andrew Yiangou

in Perivale.Image may contain: 1 person

An amazing day of full imersion into the genial world of Franz Liszt.The International Liszt Competition in Utrecht is about to be held from the 16th to the 28th March.
Andrew is one of the 14 that have been chosen to compete from the many that took part in the preliminary auditions worldwide.
Andrew a ‘local boy’ whose mother is a GP in Ealing was recipient of the Eileen Rowe Musical Award Trust ( a fund set up, with funds from Eileen Rowe’s estate.She was for many years the backbone of musical life in Ealing- teaching young children ,including Vanessa Latarche(Andrew’s distinguished teacher) and Dr Mather’s children-in a house full of pianos where she  dedicated her long life to the promotion of talented young musicians).
Andrew has a distinguished curriculum culminating in his graduation with distinction from the Royal College of Music under Gordon Fergus Thompson,Vanessa Latarche and Norma Fisher.
The selection jury of the competition, consisting of former prize winners Jean Dubé, Christiaan Kuyvenhoven and Mariangela Vacatello, listened to 53 pianists during selection rounds in Shanghai, Moscow, Utrecht and New York and made a final choice of the following:
Leonardo Pierdomenico (Italy)
Irina Chistiakova (Russia)
Ivan Vihor (Croatia)
Tamta Magradze (Georgia)
Hang Zhong (China)
Nicola Pantani (Italy)
Minkyu Kim (South Korea)
Andrew Yiangou (United Kingdom)
Priscila Navarro (Peru)
Yeon-Min Park (South Korea)
Anton Yashkin (Russia)
Asagi Nakata (Japan)
Matyáš Novák (Czech Republic)
Viktoria Baskakova (Russia)
And so thanks to the generosity of Dr Hugh Mather,Roger Nellist
and friends he was able to try out his repertoire on a very discerning audience in his native Ealing over a full imersion day divided between St Barnabas and St Mary’s- the latter performances streamed world wide.
Programme for the lunchtime concert at St Barnabas
Programme for the evening concert at St Mary’s – Liebestod had been substituted for the beautiful relatively unknown transcription of Adelaide by Beethoven.
A fascinating series of works many of which were unknown to me .
In particular the very opening work of Beethoven’s Six Gellert Songs S 467.It was the start of a fascinating journey with some extraordinarily commanding playing full of wondrous colours and some very technically challenging passages played with a musical line and shape that belied the actual technical difficulty.This glorious old Bosendorfer that may be old but still has a quite unique matured voice in the right caring hands!
Image may contain: 1 person, indoor
To quote from that expert Leslie Howard:Liszt altered the order and some of the tonalities of Beethoven’s Gellert Songs, especially to allow the most popular of them to conclude the set. Uniquely among his Beethoven transcriptions, Liszt allows himself considerable liberties in embellishing the originals and adding extra verses, but all in a spirit which combines his love of Beethoven with his love of God, echoing Gellert’s texts. In Liszt’s order, the poems speak of: (i) God’s Might and Providence—‘God is my song!’; (ii) Supplication—‘God’s goodness ranges as far as the clouds move’; (iii) Song of Penitence—‘Although I have sinned against Thee alone, grant, patient God, that I see your face’; (iv) Of Death—‘My life’s term expires’; (v) The Love of thy neighbour—‘A man cannot love God and hate his own brother’; (vi) God’s Glory in Nature—‘The heavens declare the glory of God’.
The two legends S 175/1&2 used to be played much more often.I grew up with  a wonderful recording of Wilhelm Kempff that I can still remember to this day for it eloquence and grandiosity.Infact today in St Francis and the birds it was  the absolute almost Messiaenic clarity that Andrew brought to the birds like figurations that was so remarkable.The sermon was delivered with a peace and calm that was  moving for its beautiful legato and perfect shape.
The hymn like celebration to the glory of St Francis of  Paule walking on the waves was truly robust almost Brahmsian in its full rich sound floating on the swirl of the waves from the left hand. The balance between the hands was so well judged and allowed for a gradual build up of  transcendental playing of great passion and vigour.
The Scherzo and March S 177 written in1854, the same years as the great B minor Sonata (which was to be played in the evening performance at St Mary’s) and maybe for that reason  has been so unjustly neglected according to Andrew’s very interesting introduction.The Scherzo with a relentless rhythmic propulsion sometimes of heroic proportions and the entry of the Military with the March and all the excitement of the full cavalry with General Andrew very much at the helm.Some superb playing of such precision and musicianship allied to a great sense of style and some ravishing sounds from the whispered confessions of St Francis of Assisi to the enormous full but never harsh sonorities of the Light Brigade.
Andrew Yiangou on the piano in St Mary’s Perivale.
Andrew chose to begin his second recital with another transcription by Liszt of a Beethoven song.This time ‘Adelaide’ S,466ii’ and once again we must prevail on that expert Leslie Howard :
“The title says it all, really: the second edition of this transcription follows the first, almost unaltered, up to the end of the Larghetto, but then a vast original meditation upon Beethoven’s song ensues, similar in shape and intent to the optional cadenza in the final version but with some markedly different harmonies. The elaboration of the concluding Allegro is also similar to the first version but towards the end there is a further reminiscence of earlier material with reference to the cadenza, and the coda is extended (rather like Liszt’s first transcription of Schubert’s Ave Maria) by a passage marked ‘religioso’. The beauties of these last additions may permit the overwhelming bulk of them in relation to the original song to be forgiven, but Liszt’s later elimination of them is equally understandable.”
A performance of sumptuous sounds even on this Yamaha at St Mary’s with a  melodic line so richly and beautifully embellished.It was the perfcct introduction for a quite overwhelming performance of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.Image may contain: outdoor
It may be the Liszt Competition but this year it is dedicated in particular to Beethoven 250.
It was Franz Liszt who wanted to erect a monument to this master from Bonn.
He involved himself in the project in October 1839 when it became clear it was in danger of foundering through lack of financial support. Till then, the French contributions had totalled less than 425 francs; Liszt’s own personal donation exceeded 10,000 francs He contributed his advocacy and also his personal energies in concerts and recitals, the proceeds of which went towards the construction fund. One such concert was his last public appearance with Frédéric Chopin, a pair of piano duo concerts held at the Salle Pleyel and the Conservatoire de Paris on 25 and 26 April 1841.
Liszt returned to the concert stage for this purpose; he had earlier retired to compose and spend time with his family. He also wrote a special work for occasion of the unveiling, Festival Cantata for the Inauguration of the Beethoven Monument in Bonn, S.67 (Festkantate zur Enthüllung des Beethoven-Denkmals in Bonn).
Risultato immagini per beethoven monument in bonn
Other musicians had been involved earlier:
Robert Schumann offered to write a “Grande Sonate”, have it published with gold trim and black binding, and use the proceeds of the sale for the building fund. His Small Contribution to Beethoven’s Monument: Ruins, Trophies, Palms: Grand Sonata for the Pianoforte for Beethoven’s Memorial, by Florestan and Eusebius)underwent some name changes. His publishers did not accept it in 1836, and so he revised it and had it published in 1839 as his Fantasie in C op 17 with a dedication to Liszt. In the first movement, Schumann possibly alludes to a theme from Beethoven’s song cycle An die ferne Geliebte (To the Distant Beloved)] which if true, was also an allusion to his own “distant beloved”, Clara Wieck, who was then separated from him in Paris, by order of her father Friedrich Wieck In 1841
Felix Mendelssohn wrote his Variations sérieuses for the project.
The unveiling was originally scheduled for 6 August 1843, but was postponed to 12 August 1845.

And what better work to play than Liszt’s own transcription of the 5th Symphony.

Image may contain: Andrew Yiangou, standing

A magnificent performance that missed nothing of two hands taking the place of a full orchestra.It was the sense of relentless drive and nobility that immediately took us all by storm.After the initial shock of hearing  on the piano what is the most famous opening in all music we were immediately swept up in a  whirlwind that took us from the monumental opening to the Andante  and variations of beautiful shape and drive,through the relentless rhythmic drive of the scherzo to the heroic  propotions of the final Allegro.

After a short interval Andrew returned to give a pertformance of the Liszt Sonata in B minor that had the same  coherance and architectural direction as the Symphony.A remarkable performance from the whispered opening and close that encapsulates one of the truly greatest works in the Romantic repertoire.It was played with great control and extraordinary clarity.Encompassing moments of great passion with absolute exquisitely whispered delicacy.It was one of the most enjoyable performances I have heard in a long time of this much maligned work.

All best wishes to this local lad from Ealing who is flying high on his way to Utrecht in the name of Franz Liszt.

Image may contain: 2 people, people sitting


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