Florian Mitrea – born free at St Mary’s

Tuesday 2 March 4.00 pm 

Florian Mitrea (piano)

Beethoven: Piano sonata in C Op 2 no 3 Allegro con brio-Adagio-Scherzo:Allegro-Allegro assai

Chopin: Scherzo no 1 in B minor op 20

Liszt: Dante sonata

Some extraordinary playing of Beethoven,Chopin and Liszt from Florian Mitrea
Playing of a directness and sincerity but together with a personality that shines through all he does.
A sound that reminds me of the limpet type fingers of Gelber.A sense of legato that is so natural as it is extraordinary ,every note that he plays seems to hit centre just as Gilels too could provide that creamy rich cantabile sound or the most sumptuously rich sonorities with an aristocratic nobility that seemed so right.
The piano and the artist are at one as the music is allowed to unfold without any rhetoric or whispered asides.

The Sonata op 2 n.3 used to be heard much more often in the concert hall and so it was refreshing to hear it opening Florian’s afternoon recital today.It is the last of the three early Sonatas op 2 dedicated to his teacher Joseph Haydn all with four movements .This last of the set written in 1795 is the longest of the early Sonatas together with op 7 written a year later.As Florian said in his very interesting introduction it has many of the qualities that would be found later in his last Sonatas in particular the almost string quartet quality of the Adagio with its dynamic contrasts and sudden exclamatory outbursts.

The Allegro con brio was played with great energy but also a second subject with a very personal lyricism.His limpet touch gave great inner power to the tempestuous arpeggios of the development after an opening that had the charm and character of Haydn,dispelled immediately with a burst of full powered broken octaves.Already Beethoven’s unmistakable character is breaking away from the model of Mozart and Haydn and is the start of a long journey of evolution that for 25 years can be traced so clearly in his 32 sonatas that spanned his whole life from the age if 25 to 56.There was beauty too in the cadenza like transition to the coda.The moving harmonies shaped so mellifluously leading to the actual cadenza ,played with perfect clarity that led so unexpectedly to the opening theme before Beethoven’s very decided slamming of the door.There was great sensitivity in the Adagio with a sense of architectural line.The long bass melody answered so clearly by the treble with beautiful arch movements of Florian’s hands that seemed to be painting the sounds so naturally.The ending was played simply and naturally Florian’s great respect for every detail that Beethoven suggests shining through everything he did.The Scherzo was clearly and almost delicately played as one hand seemed to chase the other until Beethoven impatiently draws it to a violent end.The Trio giving great contrast as the arpeggios swept over the entire keyboard with such ease and rhythmic energy ,the final cascade in bass signalling the impish reappearance of the Scherzo.Playing the Allegro assai with great clarity I have never seen a pianist play the opening flourish with just one hand before,a novelty of no great importance,but one that took me by surprise by a pianist who up until then had been playing exactly as Beethoven had indicated on the printed page.It had a featherlight quality to it and even the left hand octaves were never allowed to darken the good humour of this youthful energy.It contrasted so well with the chorale episode where the piercingly pointed sforzandi added even more good humour to this movement with its uninhibited joie de vivre.

The Chopin first Scherzo received a dazzling performance but played by a true musician where every strand had a meaning .The opening chords being played perfectly in line with what followed not the usual dramatic two chords unrelated to the fast passage work that follows.I would not have slowed down so much in some of the passages but kept the line going .In the central section too the beautiful Polish Carol I would have kept more of a childlike simplicity rather than the passionate involvement that Florian wanted to give it.However it was his own personal view and was played with such sumptuous sounds that he almost convinced me too.

The Dante Sonata was given a grandiose performance full of orchestral colours and passionate involvement.The left hand played non legato contrasted so well with the almost mystical legato of the right.There was an extreme stillness to the central slow section of sublime beauty in his ultra sensitive hands .Unwinding into the dramatic recitativi and a whispered ending to this central episode.There was true magic in the tremolandi on high that followed leading to the passionate finale full of transcendental octaves of great rhetoric.Spurred on by his great temperament he threw caution to the wind as he entered the final bars with a passionate involvement that was absolutely compelling.


A remarkable concert by a charismatic artist just born to play the piano

Described by Martha Argerich as ‘an outstanding young pianist’, British-Romanian pianist Florian Mitrea is an award-winning soloist, having been a double-laureate at many of the most prestigious international competitions, including at the 2017 Glasgow, 2015 Hamamatsu, and 2014 ARD Munich Competitions. Florian has performed at venues including the Carnegie Hall, the Bozar Centre in Brussels, the Usher Hall in Edinburgh, the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow, the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, the Bunka Kaikan Hall in Tokyo, the Seoul Arts Centre, the Bavarian Radio Studios, and across Romania. He was an invited soloist with the Philharmonia in London, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Collegium Musicum in Basel, and the Romanian National Radio Orchestras and the Bucharest Philharmonic. He has impressed critics with ‘absorbing and masterly’ performances (The Edinburgh Guide 2019), ‘stupendous virtuosity’ (Suddeutsche Zeitung, 2017), ‘phenomenal precision throughout’ (The Herald, 2017), and ‘a mixture of phenomenal technique and ravishing musical intelligence’ (The Cambridge Independent, 2018). He won the Radio Romania Muzical Most Popular CD of 2018 award for his solo debut CD. An alumni and appointed Associate of the RAM in London, Florian is now a teacher within the Piano Department, while also finishing his studies at the Imola Piano Academy, under Boris Petrushansky.


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