Petar Dimov at St Mary’s A musician speaks

in collaboration with the Keyboard Charitable Trust

Tuesday 27 October 4.00 pm

Streamed LIVE concert in an empty church

Petar Dimov (piano)

Debussy: 2 Preludes
Ce qu’a vu le vent d’ouest
La fille aux cheveux de lin

Dimov: Passacaglia

Debussy: Prelude
La cathédrale engloutie

Dimov: Aura (Daylight) (UK premiere)

Brahms Sonata in F minor op 5

Allegro maestoso-Andante-Scherzo:Allegro energico-Intermezzo:Andante-Finale :Allegro moderato ma rubato

A very interesting programme from this young Bulgarian pianist graduate of the Royal College of Music where he was in the class of Norma Fisher for six years.A programme that was so well thought out where one work grew out of another and created a fascinating sound picture which culminated in the youthful masterpiece of Brahms’ all too rarely heard third sonata op 5.

I have heard in the past such great pianists such as Annie Fischer,Kempff,Rubinstein,Arrau,Cherkassky,Curzon play this monumental five movement work.More recently I heard a magnificent performance in London and in Rome from Louis Lortie with not a little help, as he pointed out to his audience afterwards in the Wigmore Hall ,from the aristocratic rich sounds of a Bosendorfer piano.

The sonata of course needs a real musician to hold it together and find the orchestral colours with which it was obviously conceived.One could almost say that it is his fifth symphony such is the overall architectural conception of this monumental work.It was just such a performance we heard today from this young musician.Maybe lacking in the overall sweep and some of Brahms’s youthful romantic verve but there was a control of sound and colour and an overall architectural conception of the work that showed a quite remarkable musical maturity allied to an impressive technical prowess.All this he could do on a fine but limited Yamaha piano, so hats off indeed!

The concert had begun with a juxtaposition of three Debussy Preludes and two of Petar’s own works.All knotted together to create one whole sound picture that started with Debussy’s depiction of the west wind where immediately we were thrown into a world of swirling waves and violent contrasts.Some evocative sounds from deep within the piano took us by surprise as they led to bursts of violent storms with notes encompassing the entire keyboard played with astonishing technical mastery.This led to the simple beauty of the girl with the flaxen hair where the melodic line was not so much projected but seemed to emerge from the underlying harmonies as if we were eavesdropping on some distant beauty.Petar’s own Passacaglia followed with barely whispered sounds leading to a peal of bells with full orchestral sounds that were allowed to resonate as Debussy’s sunken cathedral began to emerge from the depths.Again the melodic line was never forced but seemed to be sustained by the underlying harmonies.The majestic nobility of the risen cathedral was quite overwhelming with its reverberant sounds created by a masterly use of the pedals as was the descent into the depths with a barely audible left hand on which floated the memory of the apparition that had appeared so magically before us.

A remarkable technical control allied to an extraodinary sense of immagination.Last but not least in this opening group was Petar’s own Aura or Daylight with the sun now glistening on the waves of a perpetum mobile that concluded so well this atmospheric prelude to the great F minor Sonata.

The grandiose opening to the Sonata broke the spell that he had created and brought us into the more sedate but passionate world of Brahms.A great sense of control and contrasts where one could almost envisage the whole orchestra.The solo horns alternating with the full sumptuous string section.This work in lesser hands can often seem fragmented and it takes a real musician to be able to see the whole line from the first to the last note without getting distracted by Brahms’s seemless melodic lines.The Andante was played with a sense of foreward movement where deeply felt sounds emerged with touching insight. The ‘Ben cantando’ section was even more mellifluous contrasting with the opening melodic line that had been deliberately subdued and the poco piu lento section was very beautiful indeed .One of the most touching moments though came in the Andante molto coda, where the gradual reawakening leads to a passionate outburst that dies away to a whisper as Debussy’s cathedral had done only moments before.The Scherzo was thrown off with great verve and a slight wrong turning was a small price to pay for a performance of such technical assurance.

An intermezzo of haunting beauty and desolate nobility was the prelude to the Finale where Brahms’s rather fragmented comments were held together with the same expertise of a conductor directing an orchestra.The sumptuous central choral melody was beautifully controlled and the piu mosso coda was thrown off with great ease but not without being aware of the melodic line hidden in it’s midst.It led to the final passionate outbursts of full orchestral sounds with which the work triumphantly ends.

Petar Dimov was born in 1994 in Plovdiv (Bulgaria). He studied there with Svetlana Koseva until his graduation with distinction in 2014. He then studied at the Royal College of Music, graduating with distinction in 2018. He is now a postgraduate student at the RCM, studying with Norma Fisher and Vanessa Latarche, supported by the Henry Wood Accommodation Trust and the St. Marylebone Foundation. He has won numerous prizes at music competitions in recent years. In 2011 he was awarded 2nd prize at the International Competition for Young Pianists in Craiova (Romania), and in 2012 he received two 1st prizes at the International Piano Competition ‘Schumann-Brahms’ in Plovdiv (Bulgaria) and at the International Competition for Young Musicians ‘Ohrid Pearls’ in Ohrid (Macedonia). In 2013,he won first prize at the ‘Scriabin’ International Piano Competition in Paris (France). In 2020 he won third prize and a performance of Brahms – Piano Concerto No. 2, op. 83 with the Worthing Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2013 his accomplishments as a pianist, chamber musician and accompanist were acknowledged with two prizes – from the Union of the Bulgarian Composers and the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture. He has performed Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto with the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra. He has performed across multiple venues in England between 2014 and 2020, including Steinway hall, St. James’ Piccadilly, Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall, Austrian Cultural Forum, Waltham Abbey, Pallant House Gallery and St. Mary Abbots amongst others. In addition, he has given solo recitals in Athens, Crete, Edirne, Istanbul, Volos, Sofia and his native Plovdiv. As a composer, Dimov has worked with Nikolay Stoykov, and has written a number of works for various instruments and ensembles including Nocturne, Passacaglia, Alpha and Omega Sonata No. 1) and Butterfly dream for solo piano, Forwards for violin and piano duo, 19 Devouring time ) for unaccompanied choir, Aphelion for string quartet, Laniakea for orchestra, Circle of Light for soprano and piano, amongst others. His piano works are often performed by RCM pianists.

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