Nuno Lucas and Dillon Jeffares with Kumi Matsuo at St James’s Piccadilly.
Thanks to Talent Unlimited at last a live concert with public. Public with social distancing means we get to really appreciate what must be the most beautiful concert hall in London.Every angle used for social distancing means the chance to explore this magical space. With it’s very fine Fazioli piano chosen a few years ago by Alberto Portugheis but above all such welcoming hosts led by David McClee’ry
Usually these days concerts held with public allowed in,are with the suspicion of the accused going to the gallows that makes streaming seem like a blessing in disguise.
Here in my wife’s favourite church we are not only welcomed with open arms but regaled with such wondrous sounds as the carefully chosen artists by Canan Maxton demonstrated today.
The truly magical sounds of Carl Vine’s Threnody found in Nuno Lucas a true poet. A tenor melody shadowed delicately from the top of the piano whilst sumptuous bass notes just opened up this Pandora’s box to show us the glistening jewels it contained.I was waiting for some explosion in a piece I do not know but Carl Vine was happy just to seduce us with sounds that one only expects in Puccini arias and is so unexpected in pieces that all too often follow an ABA design.
This was the ideal aria with which to take us to the full opera house with Verdi’s Rigoletto in the famous transcription of Franz Liszt.
Here was true theatre in this young Portuguese pianist’s hands. Scintillating streams of seamless sounds accompanied the potpourri of well known melodies. Played by a true musician as one would expect from a student of Leon McCawley but with all the expertise of a man of the theatre who knows how to pass the footlights and hold the audience in the palm of his hand like a Flores or Domingo.Breathtaking sense of timing with the technical challenges not even considered as the curtain opened and all the drama and seduction was enacted to our delight and astonishment.
There had been a hint of his remarkable artistry in the beginning of the Mendelssohn variations that had opened the programme. But the faster variations were hampered by tempi that did not take into consideration the very resonant acoustic.The slower variations were played with ravishing tone and superb timing as he listened so lovingly to the sounds he was cherishing.Brilliance and youthful exuberance were not yet substituted for the superb display that was to come later in the programme.
Chausson’s beautiful Poeme was played with superb refined musicianship but was missing the passion and theatricality that had seduced us in the Rigoletto paraphrase.We were not seduced and ravished so much as looking on with admiration at such fine playing from Dillon and Kumi.
It was in the Chopin Nocturne op post in the arrangement by Nathan Milstein that they created the missing magic. The final fiortiori were so much more magical on the violin than they have ever been on the piano!
A breath of fresh air in these difficult times and Beethoven op 111 and op 13 to look toward to next week on the 16th here at St James’s.
On the 19th at St John’s Waterloo Angela Hewitt will regale us for Beethoven’s 250th birthday ( which is officially on the 17th) with the Hammerklavier op 106 and his farewell to the sonata with op 111.The two sonatas recorded in Germany last month to complete her complete survey of the 32 .A path that shows so clearly Beethoven’s early influence of his teacher Haydn to the true visionary of his last works written when he was completely deaf.
Out of human suffering true art is always born.Q.E.D
Please take note Signori Politicians as it is art that will replenish our souls after this cruel calculation of numbers is long forgotten.