Konstantin Lapshin in No Man’s Land – the remarkable new venture at St Mary’s Perivale with Hugh Mather A Man for All Seasons

Konstantin Lapshin at St Mary’s.

How fitting it was that the first concert in Dr Hugh Mather new  venture (or should I say adventure) of a virtual concert hall,should fall to a past student of Vanessa Latarche who was the star pupil of Eileen Rowe.For many generations Miss Rowe was a shining light for all aspiring young musicians in Ealing (Perivale).Hugh Mather together with Vanessa Latarche administer the Eileen Rowe Trust that she bequeathed  to help young musicians in Ealing

Hugh Mather,Roger Nellist  and their team are a shining light today for all the remarkable young musicians that have had their concerts cancelled.
Dr Hugh Mather is maintaining his remarkable series that will be streamed live (and available for a certain period afterwards too).A professional engagement that will continue to be the life blood for so many of the most talented young musicians in London and elsewhere.

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A Man For All Seasons ——- you are not alone ………musicians unite
Hugh Mather

describes how concerts at St Mary’s Perivale will continue as “Virtual Concerts” following today’s Government advice.

Concert details at http://www.st-marys-perivale.org.uk/

“Change of plan ! Please ignore my recent post. In the light of the government’s radical new plans, just announced, to combat Coronavirus, asking us all to avoid pubs and theatres, it would clearly be irresponsible to go against this guidance and hold concerts with an audience. So our Friday concerts at St Barnabas are cancelled indefinitely. However… the concerts at St Mary’s Perivale will continue as ‘Virtual Concerts’, with no audience but with livestreaming. The musicians will be paid in full for the moment, and we hope to have ways of donating to the Friends of St Mary’s Perivale established soon, so that we can continue this policy. We will keep ‘live’ music going in West London over the next few surreal weeks and months, and we may even increase their frequency, since everyone stuck at home will be going crazy with boredom. How about daily piano recitals streamed from Perivale ?? I hope you will all support us. The link is https://vimeo.com/stmarysperivale . There are about 8 recent concerts to enjoy, and Konstantin Lapshin’s recital will be broadcast in  live streaming. And if you enjoy this new source of live classical music, tell your friends and spread the word.”

I have had the best seat in the house for some time and I intend to keep it.
I am sure he will have the worldwide following that such a couragious and generous pioneer deserves.
Of course all in the name of the outstanding talents that he presents week after week in his beautiful redundant church in the middle of Ealing Golf Course just 20 minutes from the centre of London.Or at the click of a switch from anywhere in the world

Konstantin Lapshin (piano)

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Rachmaninov: Études-tableaux Op 39 nos 4-9
Liszt: Sonata in B minor S178

London-based Russian pianist Konstantin Lapshin is an accomplished musician with a unique artistic vision. A prize-winner in numerous international competitions, Konstantin completed his Master of Music degree at the Royal College of Music in 2009 on a full scholarship studying with Vanessa Latarche. He then went on to take the Artist Diploma, in addition to being nominated as the Mills Williams Junior Fellow and receiving their gold medal. During his time at the RCM, Konstantin won the Chappell Gold Medal and the college’s highest prize for the most outstanding student (across all disciplines), the Queen Elisabeth Rose bowl. He subsequently played for HRH Prince Charles and in the same year was the nominated ‘Rising Star’ to play at Cadogan Hall, London. Before moving to London, Konstantin completed his studies in the Moscow State Conservatoire with Lev Naumov and Michail Voskresensky.Konstantin has been a major prize-winner in more than 15 International and National piano competitions such as the Schubert International Piano Competition in Dortmund, Maria Yudina International Piano Competition in St Petersburg, 1st Gnessin International Piano Competition in Moscow, Rachmaninov International Piano Competition, Moscow, Novosibirsk International Piano Competition, Haverhill Sinfonia Soloist Competition in the UK. Most recently he won 2 Prize in the Isidor Bajic International Piano Competition (Serbia), 1St Prize in the Mendelssohn Cup Competition in Taurisano (It.), 1st Prize and Public prize of the Schumann Prize International Competition in Lamporrecchio (It).He has given recitals and concerto appearances at various concert halls across Europe including the Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room at the Southbank Centre, Cadogan Hall, Steinway Hall, St Martin-in-the-Fields, Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, Fairfields Hall, the Salle Cortot in Paris. Konstantin has been performing extensively all over Russia. The most important venues have included: Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory, Small Hall of Moscow Conservatory, Rachmaninov Hall, Zerkalny Hall, Tchaikovsky Arts Centre, the Big Hall of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. Upcoming engagements include performances at the Fairfields Hall, Bath International Festival, Llandeilo Music Festival, St James’s Piccadilly, St.Martin’s in the Fields, Bath Piano Recitals Series, Rachmaninov Concert Hall in Moscow; concerts in Italy and Germany. Konstantin is supported by the Worshipful Company of Musicians and is a Concordia and Kirckman Society artist. He teaches at the Royal College of Music. He is also currently pursuing the doctoral degree at the Royal College with the support of the Musicians’ Company Studentship and Mr Hugh Lloyd

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Some magnificent playing for the first of the St Mary’s Virtual Concerts.

Konstantin opening with seven of the Etudes – Tableaux op 39 n.4-9 by Rachmaninov.They showed of his superb control and technical prowess but with a sense of shape and colour that brought each study vividly to life.From the martial undertones of the fourth  and the ninth in which his control of balance and sound managed to bring the set to a tumultuous conclusion.The opening of the ninth played in a subdued manner  to allow the final  explosive  reappearance  to have its full impact  demonstrated  his great sense of architecture and musicianship.The famous fifth  study in E flat minor was played with all the passion and sumptuous sounds that he was to reserve also for parts of the Liszt Sonata later in the programme.Rising to an immense climax but with the melodic line always allowed to sing thanks to his great sense of balance and colour that he built up  always from the very sonorous bass.A meltingly nostalgic finale dissolved to a mere whisper.

It allowed the 6th study to enter with  terrifying ferocity.It was clear why this is known as the Red Riding Hood Study where the wolf gobbles Little Red Riding Hood whole at the end!The intricate chatterings in the treble played with astonishing clarity were answered with the enormous crescendos from the bass.Building up a gradual crescendo of great energetic force and superlative technical control.

It served merely as a grotesque prelude to the nightmare qualities of the seventh.The enormous technical difficulties dispatched with great fire and passionate involvement.The beautifully lyrical eighth study was allowed to flow so mellifluously before disappearing to a mere whisper for the imposing opening of the ninth.

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It was also very fitting that this new series of concerts should include one of the pinnacles of the Romantic piano repertoire.The Sonata in B minor by Liszt.

The Sonata published in 1854  was dedicated to Robert Schumann, in return for Schumann’s dedication of his Fantasie in C Major op 17 (published 1839) to Liszt. A copy arrived at Schumann’s house in May 1854, after he had entered Endenich sanatorium. Schumann’s wife  Clara, an accomplished concert pianist and composer in her own right, did not perform the Sonata; according to scholar  Alan Walker she found it “merely a blind noise”.

Well it can be in the wrong hands but this was not the case today.If Konstantin did slightly exaggerate the rubato in the opening motif it was done from a passionate involvement and  self identification with the great drama that Liszt unfolds.Some extraordinary feats of transcendental piano playing where again his great sense of architectural shape allowed him to take us on a journey in which the underlying rhythmic impetus was rarely lacking .He allowed himself some rhythmic freedom only  in the touching pianissimi chromatic scales that herald the return to the mysterious opening motif.He immediately returned to the original tempo in the fugato that he built up to a gloriously noble outburst of excitement.The so called “love theme”, a beautiful lyrical thematic trasformation of the original five repeated notes slowed down to create one of the most meltingly beautiful episodes of the remarkable work.It was ravishingly played, always with a forward movement that excluded and sentimentality but just added to the enormous contrast with the great passionate octaves that abound.The infamous octaves at the end were played with great authority and the gradual dissolving to the final B deep in the bass was pure magic that he was able to trasmit to my home thanks to the superb streaming at St Mary’s.

I wonder if he realised  as he played to Hugh alone that  the  world was  also listening with baited breath!

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The final note of the great B minor Sonata by Liszt
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