Tyler Hay at St Mary’s

Tuesday 6 October 4.00 pm

Streamed LIVE concert in an empty church

Tyler Hay (piano)

Czerny: Piano Sonata no 7 in E minor Op 143

  1. Allegro spiritoso (E minor)
  2. Andante (E major)
  3. Scherzo. Allegro vivo (E major)
  4. Allegretto (G major)
  5. Finale. Allegro molto (E minor)

Chopin: Waltz in A flat Major Op 34 no 1
Chopin: Waltz in D flat Major Op 64 no 1
Chopin: Waltz in C sharp minor Op 64 no 2
Chopin: Waltz in E minor Op posth

Beethoven: Piano Sonata no 23 in F minor Op 57 ‘Appassionata’

  1. Allegro assai
  2. Andante con moto (in re bemolle maggiore) – attacca:
  3. Allegro, ma non troppo – Presto

The programmes of Tyler Hay are like his colleague Mark Viner’s full of unusual works by composers we have read about but rarely ever been able to hear in the concert hall.Both from the school of Tessa Nicholson at the Purcell School where they have received a technical and musical training second to none.Mark Viner’s landmark recordings of Alkan,Thalberg and Chaminade are being received with five star reviews.Tyler Hay’s recordings of works by Liszt,Ogdon and Kalkbrenner are being equally enthusiastically greeted by the critics.To quote Bryce Morrison in IPQ ‘an awe-inspiring tribute to what is clearly a special love’ or Guy Richards in Musical Opinion:’a beguiling delicacy of touch when required and awesome technique when necessary.Hay plays it superbly’

And so today a programme that opens with the 7th of Czerny’s many Sonatas, that I have never heard on the concert platform before, combined with one of Beethoven’s most performed Sonatas – The Appassionata and in between four of the most well known Waltzes by Chopin

It is interesting to delve into the archive and remind ourselves who Czerny was and his influence on piano playing that reaches even into twenty first century.

Carl Czerny ( 21 February 1791 – 15 July 1857) was an Austrian composer, teacher, and pianist of Czech origin whose vast musical production amounted to over a thousand works. His books of studies for the piano are still widely used in piano teaching. He was one of Beethoven’s numerous pupils.At the age of fifteen, Czerny began a very successful teaching career. Basing his method on the teaching of Beethoven and Muzio Clementii, He taught up to twelve lessons a day in the homes of Viennese nobility and his ‘star’ pupils included  Stephen Heller , Sigismond Thalberg,Theodor Leschetizky,Theodor Kullak .In 1819, the father of Franz Liszt brought his son to Czerny, who recalled:’He was a pale, sickly-looking child, who, while playing, swayed about on the stool as if drunk…His playing was…irregular, untidy, confused, and…he threw his fingers quite arbitrarily all over the keyboard. But that notwithstanding, I was astonished at the talent Nature had bestowed upon him.’

Liszt became Czerny’s most famous pupil and the Liszt family lived in the same street in Vienna as Czerny, who was so impressed by the boy that he taught him free of charge. Liszt was later to repay this confidence by introducing the music of Czerny at many of his Paris recitals. Shortly before Liszt’s Vienna concert of 13 April 1823 (his final concert of that season), Czerny arranged, with some difficulty (as Beethoven increasingly disliked child prodigies) the introduction of Liszt to Beethoven. Beethoven was sufficiently impressed with the young Liszt to give him a kiss on the forehead. Liszt remained close to Czerny, and in 1852 his Transcendental Studies were published with a dedication to him.

After 1840, Czerny devoted himself exclusively to composition and wrote a large number of piano solo exercises for the development of the pianistic technique, designed to cover from the first lessons for children up to the needs of the most advanced virtuoso.Czerny’s many piano sonatas show themselves as an intermediate stage between the works of Beethoven and Liszt. They blend the traditional sonata form elements with baroque elements, such as the use of  fugato, and free forms of fantasy.

His influence as a teacher can best be appreciated by this list:Wanda Landowska: pupil of Moritz Moszkowski ← Theodor Kullak ← Czerny;Sergei Prokofiev: pupil of Anna Yesipova ← Theodor Leschetizky ← Czerny;Claudio Arrau: pupil of Martin Krause ← Liszt ← Czerny;Ernő Dohnányi: pupil of István Thomán ← Liszt ← Czerny;Georges Cziffra: pupil of István Thomán ← Liszt ← Czerny;Daniel Barenboim: pupil of Edwin Fischer ← Martin Krause ← Liszt ← Czerny;Van Cliburn: pupil of Rildia Bee Cliburn-(mother) ← Arthur Friedheim ← Liszt ← Czerny;Sergei Rachmaninoff: pupil of Alexander Siloti ← Liszt ← Czerny;Leon Fleisher: pupil of Artur Schnabel ← Theodor Leschetizky ← Czerny

The seventh Sonata op 143 opened with great drama and as one would expect arpeggios abound.There was also a great sense of fantasy and colour with some beautiful lyrical playing bathed in pedal that created a great contrast to the more rhythmically energetic episodes.The beautiful Andante was played with simplicity and great luminosity in the variation of the theme that follows.There was a great lightness almost Mendelssohnian in the Scherzo played with great charm and delicacy. The music box motion of the Intermezzo was almost Schubertian in its gentle continuous motion.The last movement was a tour de force of energy provided by the left hand repeated notes and great flourishes of notes brought this interesting but rather uninspired Sonata to its inevitable conclusion.

There was a world of difference between Czerny and Chopin as was immediately evident from the opening notes of the first of four waltzes that Tyler offered as a contrast to the two Sonatas on the programme by master and pupil.Chopin was full of refined lyricism and scintillating virtuosity where every note had a meaning. The subtle beauty and charm of the Waltz op 34 was quite ravishing in Tyler’s hands.Playing with a great sense of style and perfect balance Chopin’s magical web was spun with irresistible forward propulsion.The so called Minute waltz that followed was played slightly too fast to let the notes to breathe as naturally as he allowed the lyrical middle section to be shaped with a great sense of flexibility.The waltz in C sharp minor that followed had a beautiful natural delicacy and sense of rubato that contrasted with the simplicity of the middle section.The E minor Waltz op posth was played with great beauty of tone and sense of style even if some of the faster parts were thrown off a little too casually but the excitement generated in the coda brought this refreshing group of Chopin to a joyous conclusion.

The highlight of the recital was Beethoven’s Appassionata Sonata.It was played with great architectural shape and sense of rhythmic drive.The lyrical passages were shaped most beautifully and contrasted so well with Beethoven’s bursts of startling virtuosity.Thrown off with remarkable precision and sense of drama even though he chose not to completely follow Beethoven’s very precise pedal effects.

The Andante con moto was played as a ‘Pilgrims March’ to use Agosti’s words and the variations that followed were played with great sensitivity and ravishing tone.Maybe more weight and less reliance on the sustaining pedal would have given even more depth to this remarkable movement.

The last movement was played with relentless rhythmic drive but always shaped so clearly with a great sense of line.The long quiet arched arpeggio could have been even clearer with less pedal as it led to the return of the main theme on its relentless journey and Tyler’s masterly control of the coda which brought this magnificent Sonata to an exciting conclusion.

Beethoven undoubtedly the master always.Q.E.D

Tyler Hay was born in 1994 in Kent and began learning the piano at the age of 6. He studied with the Head of Keyboard, Andrew Haigh at Kent Music Academy for 3 years before gaining a place to study at the Purcell School for Young Musicians in 2007 where he received a scholarship from the Government’s Music and Dance Scheme and studied the piano with Tessa Nicholson. He completed his studies at the Royal Northern College of Music in 2016 where he received the keyboard department’s ABRSM scholarship. He studied with the Head of Keyboard, Graham Scott and the British pianist, Professor Frank Wibaut. Before completing his 4th year in June 2016, Tyler won the esteemed Gold Medal competition at the Royal Northern and played in the prize winner’s concert at Wigmore Hall in the Spring of 2017. He has also received a scholarship covering all fees to study at the Royal College of Music in 2017, where he studied with South African pianist, Niel Immelman and now continues with renowned British pianist, Gordon Fergus-Thompson.

Tyler has become a virtuoso pianist who enjoys tackling some of the most demanding works in the repertoire. He has performed Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Sonata at Wigmore Hall and Cadogan Hall, Scriabin’s 5th Sonata at the Southbank’s Purcell Room and as a result of winning the Senior Concerto Competition at the Purcell School, he played Ravel’s Concerto for Left Hand Alone at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in Spring, 2013. Tyler is proud to have successfully organised a full evening recital at the Purcell School as a charity event, raising close to £2000 for the Watford Peace Hospice in Summer, 2012. He has also achieved a full performance of Chopin’s 24 Etudes in Blackburn, 2014. Most recently, Tyler won first prize in the keyboard section of the Royal Overseas League Competition in February 2016 and also went on to win first prize in the Liszt Society Competition in November, later that year. CDs of Liszt’s piano music and John Ogdon’s unpublished works were both released in the Spring of 2018 under the Piano Classics label and received superb critical acclaim. A new album consisting of Kalkbrenner’s Etudes op 143 is due to be released in the summer of 2019 and this will be the first commercial recording made on a modern pianoforte of these highly inventive and attractive works. In addition to playing concerts for the Park Lane Group, Tyler is proud to be a new member of Canan Maxton’s Talent Unlimited which is a charity aimed at propelling young musicians in the opening stages of their career.

In 2012, Tyler won the £5000 Fenton Award from the Purcell School as a scholarship for furthering his musical education and as well as having performed in South Africa, Spain, Italy, Cyprus and Germany, Tyler continues to play solo recitals, chamber recitals and Concertos throughout the UK.


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