The Bells of St Mary’s -are ringing to the sounds of Alim Beisembayev

Music atT ST MARY’S PPerivale

Tuesday June 2nd 4.00 pm

Streamed ‘live’ concert in an empty church

Alim Beisembayev (piano)

Liszt: Transcendental Etudes S.139
No 3 “Paysage”
No 5 “Feux Follets”
No 10 “F minor”
No 11 “Harmonies du soir”
No 12 “Chasse-Neige”

Beethoven: Sonata in C minor Op 111

Maestoso-Allegro con brio ed appassionato ;Arietta: Adagio molto semplice e cantabile

Alim Beisembayev was born in Kazakhstan in 1998. He started playing the piano at the age of 5 in a music school in Almaty. In September 2008, he moved to study at the Central Music School of Moscow. Later that year, he won the televised, international competition for young talented musicians “Nutcracker”.After two years of studying in Moscow, he moved to continue his studies at the Purcell School for Young Musicians in the UK, where he was taught by Tessa Nicholson.In 2010, Alim recorded Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Symphony Orchestra “New Russia” under the baton of Evgeny Bushkov.His performances have taken place in prestigious halls such as the Great Hall of Moscow Conservatoire, Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, the St. Petersburg Philha rmonia of Shostakovich, the Steinway Hall, Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room and the Royal Festival Hall.

Alim was awarded 3rd prize at the Liszt International Junior Competition in Weimar and he won the First Prize in the inaugural Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas.In February 2016, Alim was a guest at BBC Radio 3’s ‘In Tune’ promoting his concert at the Royal Festival Hall, where he performed Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto with the Purcell School Symphony Orchestra.In summer 2017, Alim was awarded 1st prize at the Manchester International Piano Competition where he performed the First Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto with the Manchester Camerata. Later that year, he also won the Jaques Samuel Intercollegiate Piano Competition which led to his Wigmore Hall debut in June 2018.Since September 2016, Alim continues studying with Tessa Nicholson at the Royal Academy of Music in London on a full scholarship.

                                                                            Alim Beisembayev at St Mary’s live

There is something refreshing about seeing Dr Mather at last presenting the first of a superb line up of young artists live that he and his team at St Mary’s have been selflessly promoting over the past years.
In the last few months relying on an archive of over 400 artists St Mary’s has continued after the lock down to  tirelessly promote these young artists by streaming from this archive a selection of remarkable performances.
All the artists are offered a professional engagement even when it is an archive recording.
So many artists rely on this window that allows them to share their talent with a discerning public not only live but  also virtual – necessità virtu.
But there is something about a live concert that makes one even more aware of what marvels are  being shared.
As Gilels said it is the difference between fresh and canned food.
Yesterday the Wigmore Hall opened its ‘virtual’ doors to a series of recitals streamed live from an empty hall.
Today following their lead  St Mary’s has followed suit.Careful ,as only a physician could be,of respecting the distancing regulations even paying for his artists to travel to the hall in a private car.
Stephen Hough opened the season at the Wigmore Hall and it was like a breath of fresh air for us listeners but also for the artist who rose to the occasion with superb performances of  Bach and Schumann.
The Bach/Busoni Chaconne and the Schumann Fantasie – two pinnacles of the pianistic repertoire.
At St Mary’s today the bells were pealing just as loudly with Beethoven’s last word on his 32 Sonatas preceeded by five of Liszt’s Transcendental Studies .
Stephen Hough is a world renowned figure, a true renaissance man who not only plays the piano better than most but also writes,paints and is a public commentator on so many subjects.His latest book ‘Rough Ideas’ sums this all up with his ‘reflections on music and more!’
Alim Beisembayev is a young pianist in his early twenties and at the start of what promises to be an equally remarkable  career.
I do not say that lightly as I have heard Alim since he was in his teens at the Purcell School and on many occasions since he won a scholarship to continue his studies with Tessa Nicholson at my old Alma Mater – the RAM.
Could it have been the occasion?
Or was it simply that this very talented young man already winner of the Junior Van Cliburn Competition in Texas ,has matured  into an artist of quite considerable stature.
It was enough to see the intelligent choice of five of Liszt’s trascendental studies.
Chosen to give a shape to what in his hands are miniature tone poems but shaped into a much larger and satisfying whole.
From the luminosity of ‘Paysage’ played with such a flexible beat and subtle sense of phrasing.A touching duet that moved so eloquently towards the passionate climax ‘ritentuto ed appassionato assai’ but always maintaining the same mellifluous  dialogue .A simple growling acciaccatura in the bass brought us back to the countryside and a  gradual disappearance into the distance.
Ready for will 0′ the wisps or ‘Feux Follets.’
Sparkling lights that light up the countryside so magically in hot climes.
And there was indeed true magic in Alim’s hands.
One of the most transcendentally difficult works in the piano repertoire together with Chopin’s study op 10 n.2 that relies on the independence of the fourth and fifth fingers in the right hand.It was played with an ease and charm like Liszt’s ‘Au bord d’une source’ but with the intricate precision  of a  Swiss clock.The sense of character he gave this perfect jewel was something to marvel at indeed.The contrast in dynamics but above all the subtle melodic line that he could shape so beautifully whilst the most difficult filigree accompaniment was thrown of with the ease of a true magician.
This gave way to the romantic outpourings of the 10th study in F minor.A  passionate performance of demonic pianism  of breathtaking mastery.This was a truly operatic scenario that had nothing to fear from Bellini.
The wonderful romantic melody floating on a most intricate syncopated accompaniment before bursting into red hot declamations of almost obscene passionate involvement.Driving savage rhythms had all the hallmarks of the’ guerra guerra ‘ of Norma.
Harmonies du soir was full of magical sounds .The piu lento was played with all the heartfelt cantabile of the most Italianate tenors that gradually built up to a most sumptuous outpouring of emotion kept perfectly under  masterly control .Dying away to a mere off stage whisper it prepared the scene for the delicate melodic duet between soprano and baritone in Chasse Neige.A truly magnificent control of balance allowed the melodic line to sing above the constant tremolando accompaniment with gushes of wind every so often appearing from the depths.
These performances made one aware of the truly poetic nature of Liszt’s virtuosity that was almost never to an end of its own but always at the use of descriptive sounds much as a painter would add strokes of genius to an already expressive canvas.
Beethoven’s Sonata op 111 was given an exemplary performance.Not only for its technical mastery but even more for the maturity and total respect for Beethoven’s most precise indications.The opening of the mighty ‘Maestoso’ was fearlessly played with one hand as Beethoven asks and it put the seal on an interpretation that whilst being like water boiling at 100 degrees also had moments of contrast and rest that made the sudden outbursts of energy even more astonishing.
Nothing was missing even the fugato was a gradual build up to the full outburst of the theme with an inner energy that was quite hypnotic.Perfect control and rock steady pulse gave such strength to this movement that is obviously just the introduction to Beethoven’s last great song.
The Arietta in Alim’s hands made one realise that from the beginning to the end this was just one great melodic outpouring.From the great depth of sound of the Arietta played as Beethoven asks simply and singing.One was made aware today as I have never been before of one long sublimely mellifluous outpouring of thanksgiving that leads to the celestial trills of the final bars where Beethoven at last via op 109 and 110  finds true fulfillment in the purity of the spirit.
All this was revealed from the hands of this remarkably mature young man who is obviously  on the crest of a wave where technical mastery is at the total service of the musical message of which he understands so completely the meaning of the word  interpretation.
A rare gift indeed and one that will give him a special space in a world that needs more than ever something greater than just words.
This is what I have written over the past few years of some of Alim’s performances:

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