Martin Cousin at St Mary’s awaiting Beethoven 250 festival

Tuesday 22 September 4.00 pm

Streamed LIVE concert in an empty church

Martin Cousin (piano)

       Chopin: Ballade no.1 in G minor Op 23

       Brahms: Intermezzo in E Op 116 no 4

      Grieg: March of the Dwarfs Op 54 no 3

       Grieg: Notturno Op 54 no 4

      Grieg: Wedding Day at Troldhaugen                               Op 65 no 6

      Debussy: Clair de Lune

      Rachmaninov: Prelude in C# minor

                        Op 3 no 2                                      Rachmaninov: Romance Op 10 no 6

     Rachmaninov: Humoresque Op.10 no 5

Martin Cousin is now regarded as one of the most exceptional pianists of his generation, having been awarded 1st prize at the 2005 Ettore Pozzoli International Piano Competition (Seregno, Italy) and Gold Medal at the 2003 Royal Over-Seas League Music Competition (London). Martin has appeared regularly in the major British musical venues since graduating from the Royal College of Music, making his London solo debut at the Purcell Room in 1998. Numerous solo recitals followed, most notably at the Wigmore Hall in 2001, 2005, and 2011 and he has appeared as concerto soloist with the London Philharmonic, Halle, Royal Philharmonic, Philharmonia and BBC Concert Orchestras. Performances further afield have included tours of New Zealand, Italy, the US and concerts in Stockholm, Brussels, Toronto, Berne and The Hague.2006 saw the release of his debut CD, Rachmaninov’s Sonata No.1 and Morceaux de Salon with SOMM Recordings, which was selected as Classical CD of the week by the Daily Telegraph. The US magazine Fanfare added, “This is the performance of the 1st Sonata that I have always heard in my head but never thought I’d actually get to hear with my ears. This guy’s the Real Deal!” His second CD for SOMM, featuring Glazunov’s piano sonatas, was released in 2010 to great acclaim, with Gramophone stating that the new release is ‘in every way, an impressive disc.’ His latest disc of Rachmaninov’s Etudes-Tableaux was released in 2014 and was proclaimed ‘a landmark recording’ by the Observer with a 5-star review. Classical Source added, ‘This is one of the best solo piano records I have heard for a very long time – the more so considering it faces some pretty severe competition in the catalogues. Those who do not know these extraordinarily original masterpieces are strongly advised to acquire this disc. There is none better’.Fanfare Magazine proclaimed, ‘Based on the present disc and on the towering performance of the First Sonata on his debut CD, I am prepared to state that Cousin is among the most distinguished Rachmaninoff pianists of our generation.’Martin is also a member of the Aquinas Piano Trio and chamber music has taken him to places such as Prague, Tokyo, Indonesia, Thailand, Zimbabwe and Barbados.Martin’s hands were featured on the big screen in the Oscar-winning film “Shine”, for the scenes involving Rachmaninov’s 3rd Concerto.

                           

As  Dr Hugh Mather said at the end of this programme of ‘Lollipops’, it was one of the finest recitals in a hall that has seen some wonderful performances in the past few weeks.It was playing of beautiful fluidity ,great clarity and  assurance.There was no doubt  about this artists intentions from the very first notes of the Chopin G minor Ballade to the final cheeky note thrown off with great elan at the end of Rachmaninov’s Humoresque.

His total control was evident from the opening of the Chopin first Ballade.Played with a simplicity and intelligence.He gave more weight to the accompaniment than I am used to but it contrasted so well with the second subject that seemed to float on the arpeggios that flowed so naturally from his hands.Leading gradually to the first great climax with sumptuous sounds from the bass and a great sense of balance and  aristocratic control.Dissolving to the touchingly delicate return of the opening theme that led to the gradual  built up to the tempestuous coda played with a technical brilliance and sense of shape that was remarkable.The final flourishing scales contrasted so well with the stillness that he found with the chordal interruptions and the final octaves that brought this opening work to an exciting close.

It was the longest work on the programme that continued with the Brahms intermezzo op 116.n.4 played with a luminosity of sound of yearning nostalgia and a purity that was most touching.The beautifully mellifluous middle section floated on a wave of ravishing sounds leading to the magical return of the opening theme only to vanish into the distant heights of the piano.

Three lyric pieces by Grieg were played with a wonderful sense of colour and  contrast. The March of the Dwarfs an irrisorial rhythmic drive contrasted so well with the magical lyrical central section.The sheer beauty of the Notturno was  played with a wonderful sense of balance that allowed the bird calls at the end  to be heard so clearly and poetically ………an interesting use of the thumb in the left hand gave a sense of colour to a simple scale as it traversed the keyboard.The Wedding day at Troldhaugen was played with a truly joyous lilt with a beautifully evocative middle section before the final peal of  wedding bells – as Martin said St Mary’s was just the place for them.

Claire de Lune  by Debussy was played with a lovely liquid sound with a beautifully flowing middle section and a final page of poignant stillness and tranquility. The majestic opening of THE Rachmaninov prelude broke the spell and took us into another world of Russian nostalgia and grandeur.As Martin said :Rachmaninov himself used to turn to the public after his recitals and ask if he really had to play it!  It is rarely played these days which is also the fate of   Liszt’s Liebestraum or Sinding Rustle of Spring.They were amongst the most loved and played pieces for amateur pianists in the good old days !In simplified editions of course which  was not the case today as Martin played the middle section of the prelude with great elan and control that led to the  final explosive exulted sounds.A hauntingly beautiful Romance op 10 n.6 was followed by the rumbustuous Humoresque.It brought this recital of  ‘Lollipops’ to a scintillating end with the syncopated rhythms played wth a buoyancy and  filigree passage work that was thrown off with great ease and above all style.

We can look forward to his performance of the ‘Appassionata’ Sonata op 57 in the marathon Beethoven series at St Mary’s on the 3rd and 4th of   October when 32 superb pianists will play Beethovens 32 piano sonatas as part of their 250th anniversary celebrations this year.

Saturday 3 October 2 – 6 pm
St Mary’s Perivale Beethoven Piano Sonata Festival – Session 1
2.00 Edward Leung: Sonata in F minor Op 2 no 1, 2.25 Andrew Yiangou: Sonata in A major Op 2 no 2, 2.55 Florian Mitrea: Sonata in C major Op 2 no 3, 3.30 Simon Watterton: Sonata in E flat major Op 7, 4.05 Simone Tavoni: Sonata in C minor Op 10 no 1, 4.30 Colin Stone: Sonata in F major Op 10 no 2, 4.50 Mengyang Pan: Sonata in D major Op 10 no 3, 5.20 Callum McLachlan: Sonata in C minor Op 13 ‘Pathetique’, 5.45 Petr Limonov: Sonata in E major Op 14 no 1 
Saturday 3 October 7 – 10pm St Mary’s Perivale Beethoven Piano Sonata Festival – Session 2
7.00 Ashley FrippSonata in G major Op 14 no 2, 7.25 Thomas Kelly: Sonata in B flat major Op 22, 7.55 Mishka Rushdie Momen: Sonata in A flat major Op 26 ‘Funeral March’, 8.20 Evelyne Berezovsky : Sonata in E flat Op 27 no 1, 8.40 Alexander Ullman : Sonata in C sharp minor Op 27 no 2 ‘Moonlight’, 9.05 Julian Jacobson: Sonata in D major Op 28 ‘Pastoral’, 9.35 Olga Paliy: Sonata in G major Op 31 no 1 
Sunday 4 October 2 – 6 pm St Mary’s Perivale Beethoven Piano Sonata Festival – Session 3
2.00 Iyad Sughayer: Sonata in D minor Op 31 no 2 ‘Tempest’, 2.30 Sasha Grynyuk: Sonata in E flat major Op 31 no 3, 3.00 Andrew Bottrill: Sonata in G minor Op 49 no 1, 3.15 Veronika Shoot: Sonata in G major Op 49 no 2, 3.30 Luke Jones: Sonata in C major Op 53 ‘Waldstein’, 4.05 Ben Schoeman: Sonata in F major Op 54, 4.25 Martin Cousin: Sonata in F minor Op 57 ‘Appassionata’, 5.00 Dinara Klinton: Sonata in F sharp major Op 78, 5.20 Daniel Lebhardt: Sonata in G major Op 79, 5.35 Ilya Kondratiev: Sonata in E flat major Op 81a ‘Les Adieux’ 
Sunday 4 October 7 – 10 pm St Mary’s Perivale Beethoven Piano Sonata Festival – Session 4
7.00 Mark Viner: Sonata in E minor Op 90, 7.20 Yehuda Inbar: Sonata in A major Op 101, 7.50 Julian Trevelyan: Sonata in B flat major Op 106 ‘Hammerklavier’, 8.40 Amit Yahav: Sonata in E major Op 109, 9.05 Konstantin Lapshin: Sonata in A flat major Op 110, 9.30 Alim Beisembayev: Sonata in C minor Op 111 

     

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