Mishka Rushdie Momen a timeless message of comfort and beauty

Mishka Rushdie Momen’s solo debut recital included the plaintive elegance of Janáček’s In the Mists, alongside extracts from Schumann’s Waldscenen and Ravel’s Miroirs , in a programme that explores cyclical works and keys. The programme begins with Rameau’s Les tendres plaints (‘The tender sighs’), a rondeau which shimmers with grace.

A programme at the Wigmore Hall that sparkled and shone to the glory of music.There is a tendency these days to underestimate the power of music in the mistaken idea that it is quantity not quality that counts.Nowhere was I more aware of this than listening to Christian Blackshaw a while ago playing the Mozart Adagio in B minor K 540 that had me running to look at the score such were the subtle sounds reminiscent of a string quartet but coming from two hands on a keyboard.Of course Murray Perahia regularly surprises us with his revelatory readings of much loved works as do a chosen few such as Mitsuko Uchida,Krystian Zimerman,Richard Goode.All top prize winners in the past of International Competitions and hats off to the discerning jury that could pin point them.A jury usually made up in those days of great pianists who had given up their time – bullied by the indomitable Dame Fanny Waterman – who in her early competitions in Leeds insisted that great pianists should be prepared to give up some of their time to ensure the quality of the next generation.She also got Benjamin Britten to write a test piece.Nowadays there are so many competitions that if the great performing musicians had to give up their time for them there would be no time for their own concerts.But there are young artists who do not have the infallible preparation that competitions require and many technically better prepared young pianists suddenly find the field wide open.Many of the truly aspiring young artists need time and experience to mature but venture into the circus arena in the hope of gaining some recognition and future concerts.Would Myra Hess Clifford Curzon ,Alfred Cortot or Edwin Fischer have got through the preliminary rounds of a competition?So it is very refreshing to find the Wigmore Hall offering space to emerging young artists that have been nurtured and encouraged by the great interpreters who have themselves found a haven in this much revered hall.Such was the case today with Mishka who has for some time been mentored by Andras Schiff,Angela Hewitt,Imogen Cooper and Steven Isserlis.After her extraordinary duo recitals with Steven Isserlis she was left on her own in this hallowed space – just her and the pure music that she conjured from a black box full of hammers and strings.

I was reminded of another recital less than a week ago in that other venue dedicated to giving a platform to young artists in a beautiful redundant church in the middle of Ealing golf course:“The deep melancholy of the andante was so poignant – can only three notes mean so much?That,of course is the art of the true interpreter and so rare these days where young musicians are cultivated in the Russian repertoire that seems to require many more notes to say much less !What a lesson and an eye or should I say ear opener today.I remember Serkin listening to a young Murray Perahia and admonishing Richard Goode for not telling him quite how good he was!’

  • Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764)
  • Pièces de clavecin avec une methode pour la mechanique des doigts XI. Les tendres plaintes .Such beautifully delicate playing with ravishing ornaments that gleamed like jewels.It made one wonder why we are not treated more often to the deep melancholy and tenderness of Rameau instead of the usual brilliance and clockwork precision of his more technically explosive pieces.
  • Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
  • Variations sérieuses in D minor Op. 54.The beauty of the Andante sostenuto theme was played with such subtle colouring and led to the first variation where her legato in the right hand was matched by the gentle staccato of the left.The continual flow of the second led us to the drama of the third and the fleeting jeux perlé that followed.Building up the tension with the agitato fifth and the almost playful sixth before the virtuosity and excitement of the seventh and eighth.The beautiful change of mood with the warmth and sublime calm before the tempest was magically controlled with quite exquisite sounds.The beautiful tenor melody was accompanied by the butterfly staccato cascades of delicate notes so similar to Schumann op 13 studies.There was deep meditation too in the following two variations :Adagio and gradually poco a poco più agitato.The tumultuous final two variations were played not only with brilliance but with such colour and architectural shape that was breathtaking in its audacity and at times even delicacy before coming to rest on the last three magical chords.

  • Fryderyk Chopin (1810-1849)
  • Ballade No. 2 in F Op. 38 It was the extreme delicacy of the andantino where her absolute legato in the bass gave such subtle colour to the seemingly innocent melodic line and made the eruption of the Presto con fuoco so thrilling.A true Schumannesque Florestan and Eusebius as a tribute to its dedicatee?It was played with such flowing forward movement that led to the technical brilliance of the agitato coda but with such sumptuous sounds that the final pianissimo comment with which it ends came as a true surprise as was the pause,so pregnant with meaning,before the final farewell.
  • Leoš Janáček (1854-1928)
  • In the Mists is a piano cycle and the last of Janacek’s more substantial solo works for piano It was composed in 1912, some years after Janáček had suffered the death of his daughter Olga and while his operas were still being rejected by the Prague opera houses. All four parts of the cycle are largely written in “misty” keys with five or six flats; it is in four parts Andante ;Molto adagio ;Andantino ;Presto.A work very much championed by Mishka’s mentor Andras Schiff and is indeed remarkable,full of haunting melodies and elusive harmonies of great character and was given a totally committed performance.
  • Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
  • Waldscenen Op. 82 No. 7 Vogel als Prophet
  • Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
  • Miroirs. Oiseaux tristes. Alborada del gracioso The subtle colours and atmosphere created in these final works created the magic out of which sprung the pyrotechnics of Alborada with its treacherous repeated notes and double glissandi bringing this magical recital to an exciting end. Not before admiring the sumptuous central prayer like episode where Schumann’s prophet bird miraculously reappears before Ravel’s sad birds take wing .
  • Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
  • Ungarische Melodie in B minor D817 A beautifully shaped melody dedicated to the people suffering in India was this sensitive artist’s way of thanking her imaginary audience.Listening, I am sure,from every part of the globe where the message within her music of comfort and beauty is indeed timeless and universal

Mishka Rushdie Momen -In search of beauty – St Mary’s Live

Ivelina Krasteva beauty and simplicity at St Mary’s All the world’s a stage

Tuesday April 27 4.00 pm 

Ivelina Krasteva (piano)

Mozart: Fantasy in C minor K475 Adagio-Allegro-Andantino-Più allegro

Beethoven: Sonata in E major Op 109 Vivace ma non troppo — Adagio espressivo —Prestissimo—Gesangvoll, mit innigster Empfindung. Andante molto cantabile ed espressivo

Brahms: 7 Fantasies Op 116 Capriccio. Presto energico (D minor)Intermezzo. Andante (A minor)Capriccio. Allegro passionato (G minor)Intermezzo. Adagio (E major)Intermezzo. Andante con grazia ed intimissimo sentimento (E minor)Intermezzo. Andantino teneramente (E major)Capriccio. Allegro agitato (D minor)

A gorgeous recital – beautiful playing throughout. Here is the HD version https://youtu.be/JeXTN7qwIhg .

A terrific recital to use Dr Mather’s words where his long suffering piano today found someone who could allow it to express all the love and beauty that it can reveal in the right hands.I am reminded of Tobias Matthay and his famous school which included Myra Hess and Moura Lympany never capable of making ugly sounds.
Well another young lady just showed us that today in a repertoire that was very much of a Hess or Kovacevich.

A Mozart Fantasy where all the world’s a stage and we were treated to opera on a grand scale.From the very first notes where a string quartet was in play with the deeply contemplative depth of sound and the beautifully searching melodic line.The question and answer amongst the characters dying away to a whisper before the questioning opening returns to complete the scene.The left hand melodic line given great weight and meaning as it moves higher and arrives at its terrible inevitable conclusion.There was excitement too with the sheer drama of the Allegro where the menacing bass notes were aided and abetted by the fiery tremolandi.The absolute precision with which she threw herself into the fury of the Più allegro was just as astonishing as it must have been for the audience in Mozart’s day as were the sheer orchestral sounds of the slurred arpeggios with their calming chordal response.The final pianissimi chords on high made the reappearance of the opening intense notes even more poignant as it gradually blew itself out with a final surge of energy.

It was a panorama that she opened for us where every note spoke to the next as in her scrupulous attention to Beethoven’s meticulous indications in his Sonata op 109.
This more than any other was a work that Myra Hess moved a world as Ivelina did today .They showed us Beethoven’s vision of life with the deep restrained contemplation with which like Bach he ends his journey through life with acceptance and nobility.The first movement had an overall shape of grandeur with a tender almost pastoral longing as it flowed in and out like the stream of life.Dolce,forte,piano,crescendo, piano ,crescendo ,piano all within the first few bars that give some indication of the silent world that Beethoven inhabited.Without doubt a better world than he had suffered all his irritated life.All played with such serenity and simplicity but with a beauty of sound that was quite overwhelming.The prestissimo created a surge of energy with its continuous forward movement where even the quieter sections had a certain ominous presence and there was a final irritated swipe to finish.There followed Beethoven’s almost Nimrodian acceptance of what life had offered him in what is surely his most clearly defined benediction.The theme was most beautifully shaped with such quiet authority and inner feeling .The total rhythmic mastery of the third variation followed the utmost delicacy of the second and the scrupulous attention to detail in the first ,which is probably the hardest to interpret without falling into banality.There was a feeling of circular movement to the fourth variation that was very moving with Beethoven’s own pedal effects just adding to the magic of creation that was in his own head and private ear.The Allegro of the fifth was thankfully ma non troppo,never rising above the forte that is indicated and not always noticed by lesser interpreters.It was at this point that in Moura Lympany’s recital for us in Rome she screamed that she could see five pedals.Poor Moura she was able to finish the recital but it was the beginning of a stroke that was to hit hard a year later.The magical return of the theme in all its glory and mystery signalled the sixth and final variation.Passion and celestial sounds combine dissolving into the deep contemplation of the return of the theme ( or aria in Bach’s case) played with an aristocratic simplicity where even the final chords were judged to absolute perfection.

There was a complete change of sound for Brahms as the velvety sumptuous sounds flooded these emotional gates that Brahms’intimate being had kept to himself for too long.Like Beethoven who had come to terms with life too ,they were able to share their true inner feelings at the end of their lives via the magic world of music.There was passion in the opening Capriccio with a full orchestral sound created by a superb sense of balance and a magic transformation by a sense of touch and subtle use of pedal.Octaves just thrown off so delicately on their downward path on which the melodic line spun its passionate web.What questions there were in the beseeching search of the Intermezzo in A minor.Entering into the centre of Brahms’ most intimate self with glorious celestial sounds from on high.The deep melancholy of the andante was so poignant – can only three notes mean so much ?That,of course is the art of the true interpreter and so rare these days where young musicians are cultivated in the Russian repertoire that seems to require many more notes to say much less !What a lesson and an eye or should I say ear opener today.I remember Serkin listening to a young Murray Perahia and admonishing Richard Goode for not telling him quite how good he was!

A capriccio in G minor of astonishing sweep but also with such shape .A sumptuous ‘un poco meno Allegro’ like a great hymn to life played with glorious resonant sounds.An Intermezzo Adagio in E major of heart melting intimacy with such exquisite sounds of tentative tenderness in reply to Brahms’ deep sighs.Clouds parting in the dolce una corda interval before the celestial ending.The eery Intermezzo in E minor played with a superb sense of phrasing that gave such sad yearning to the sparse notes. The almost hidden explosion of ecstatic melody before the sublime resolution.The flowing Intermezzo in E major with the beauty of the middle section played with an exquisite sense of colour that led to the mysterious entry of the Intermezzo before the gradual disintegration to the magical drawn out final resolution.The final Capriccio Allegro agitato burst onto the scene but even here Brahms had a Schubertian outpouring of melodic invention to share .The passion at the end was even more remarkable for its control of sound and colour.
Music that can talk to the soul is music to cherish indeed.
Thank you dear Iva for reminding us that it is quality not quantity that makes a true artist.

Ivelina Krasteva was born in 1998 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. She started to play the piano at the age of 4. Two years later she got accepted in the National School of Music and Dance in Plovdiv, where she studied with Elena Velcheva until her graduation with distinction in 2017. Currently, Ivelina is acquiring her undergraduate degree studying as a HWE and WL Tovery Scholar with Ronan O’Hora and Katya Apekisheva at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Ivelina has received numerous awards from international competitions such as first prize and a livestreamed recital on Radio Plovdiv from the International Piano Competition “Schumann-Brahms” in Plovdiv, Bulgaria; third prize at the Pera Piano Competition in Istanbul, Turkey; second prize at The Golden Keys Piano Competition; third prize at International competition “Wiener Pianisten”, Vienna, Austria; and others. In addition to her studies, she has worked with internationally acclaimed musicians, such as Itamar Golan, Boris Petrushansky, Paul Roberts, Charles Owen, Noriko Ogawa, Stephan Moeller among others. As a dedicated chamber musician, Ivelina has worked in various ensembles and has been a prize winner in numerous competitions such as the First prize at the International Music Competition in Belgrade, Serbia, category “Chamber music”, as a part of a piano trio, 2016. She has received tuition from the Endellion Quartet, the Gould Piano Trio, Carole Presland, Caroline Palmer, Adrian Brendel, Ralf Gothoni, Levon Chilingirian. Ivelina has given concerts both as a solo pianist and with orchestra. She has performed in several countries – Bulgaria, Turkey, Austria, Romania, Italy and the UK. Highlights include a performance of Prokofiev’s First Piano Concerto with the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra and Mozart’s 24th Piano Concerto with the Vratsa State Orchestra. Days before the UK lockdown Ivelina won the Coulsdon and Purley Concerto Competition, which will result in her concerto debut in the UK in the next season, performing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto no.3 with the Worthing Philharmonic Orchestra under Dominic Grier. Throughout her education, she has been supported with scholarships from the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture, the “Prof. Lyuba Encheva” Foundation and the Henry Wood Accommodation Trust.

Jardin Musical Misha & Lily Maisky in Julien Brocal’s wonderful garden

Romanticism and eclecticism, for a program driven by a unique father-daughter bond.
With the duo, discover or rediscover key works from the repertoire for cello and piano: Beethoven’s Variations, Rachmaninoff’s sonata, overflowing with romanticism, Britten’s sonata, perhaps the most beautiful cello work of the twentieth century, and the Great tango of Piazzolla.


What a wonderful garden Julien Brocal has created in his atelier in Brussels .
Julien who I met many years ago in Monza has been taken under the wing of Maria Joao Pires and has now earned his own wings creating his Jardin Musical where Misha and Lily Maisky performed tonight.
What a great cellist ,playing with his daughter Lily creating that wonderful fusion that Tortelier created with his daughter all those years ago.
What refined intensity and what luminous sounds from the piano too

O+ Beethoven – Seven Variations in E flat major on Mozart’s Magic Flute in E flat major, WoO 46
+ Britten – Sonata for Cello and Piano in C
+ Tchaikovsky – Autumn Song (“October” from “The Seasons”, Op.37a/10)
+ Tchaikovsky – Valse Sentimentale, Op.51/6
+ Rachmaninov:
– Melodie, op.3/3
– Twilight, op.21/3
– Vocalise, op.34/14
– Elegie, op.3/1
+ Piazzolla – Le Grand Tango


Next concert on May 9th at 18 h with Julien ‘s mentor the wonderful Maria Joao Pires.
I heard Julien play the Mozart double with her in Oxford and when I went to thank her for all she was doing to help young musicians.She very simply said: ‘But it is I who should thank them for all that they give me!’

She like that other great lady of the keyboard Martha Argerich are a lesson to us all of the humility and simplicity with which true greatness is wrapped.

Julien Brocal at the Wigmore Hall on Wings of Song




Roman Kosyakov for the Keyboard Trust

for Young Professional Performers

30th Anniversary


Wednesday 21 April, 7.00pm in celebration of the founder John Leech on his 96th birthday.

“I have rarely heard Schumann’s Humoresque so beautifully played…a true poet of the piano. His musicianship and superb technical control will not be forgotten for a long time”
CHRISTOPHER AXWORTHY Co-Artistic Director, Keyboard Trust

Scarlatti: Sonatas K. 11 in C minor and K.159 in C Beethoven : Sonata Op. 31 No. 3 in E flat Schumann : Humoresque Op. 20


I recently heard Roman Kosyakov in a private recording venue for the Keyboard Charitable Trust.It just confirmed my previous impression of a quite extraordinary artist more than ready to demonstrate his great artistry to an awaiting public.He arrived after a delayed journey from Hastings to London and just sat down and gave one of the most remarkable performances of Schumann Humoresque that I have ever heard.He is also one of the simplest and nicest people it has been my pleasure to meet.
I enclose a piece about Roman that I wrote a few weeks ago at St Mary’s and just confirm that he is a major talent.In his hands he had such authority,musicianship and above all a range of sound that projected in the quietest passages and roared like a lion when he wanted but never letting the sound harden.He explained about his early training and his teacher at central school telling him to think before you play, which are the same words that Andras Schiff uses in his masterclasses.He won Hastings 2018 and awaits his RPO concert at Cadogan Hall .He has a Liszt cd for Naxos part of a collaboration between Birmingham Conservatoire and Naxos and I believe Leslie Howard is very much involved in this series of lesser known works.

I have spoken about Roman’s remarkable performances of the Schumann Humoresque together with the Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition,but today I was taken by surprise also by his superb performances of Scarlatti and Beethoven.

Two Scarlatti sonatas played with such jewel like precision.The C minor K.11 was played with beautiful grace and charm with astonishing clarity as the music seemed to pour from his agile fingers with such fluidity.The ornaments just glittering like jewels as he seemed to conduct himself at the same time as playing.The famous C major Sonata K.159 with its horn like imitation was played with a crisp rhythmic impetus that was truly exhilarating.The discreet echo effect was judged to absolute perfection.

Beethoven’s Sonata op 31 n.3 was played with a freshness and feeling of pastoral well being with scrupulous attention to Beethoven’s precise indications .The almost too serious Beethoven character showing through at the beginning of the development was immediately diffused by the playfully wistful character that permeates this exhilarating work.We could admire yet again the ornaments that glistened and glittered like magic in his delicate hands.The Allegro vivace Scherzo just flowed from his fingers with an irresistible sense of mischief as it was played with a clockwork precision of great shape and character.And what fun he had as Beethoven slides up and down the keyboard before just throwing the end off with such nonchalant ease and charm.The Minuetto was indeed moderato and grazioso but it was also played with a simplicity and subtle beauty.The Trio,that Saint Saens uses as the theme of his Beethoven Variations was played with the mock seriousness of Beethoven poking fun at the proceedings before entering the bucolic fun of the Presto con fuoco that just spun from his fingers like a well oiled spring with an infectious joie de vivre.The central chase was played with the same sense of character that I remember from Rubinstein’s many memorable performances including his last at the Wigmore Hall in 1976.Roman had too that enormous rhythmic drive that I remember was so much part of Richter’s characterful exhilaration in the Schubert C minor Sonata.

More remarkable performances to add to my previous impressions.What a wonderful tribute to our founder on his 96th birthday to know that he has created a Keyboard Trust with his wife Noretta Conci that will help young musicians like Roman bridge the gap between acquiring a mastery and being able to share it with a waiting world.

Noretta Conci and John Leech

Roman Kosyakov was born into a musical family and made his debut with orchestra at the age of 12 with Mozart Concerto N.23 in A Major. In 2012, he graduated from the Central Music School in Moscow where he studied with Farida Nurizade and then in 2017 from the Tchaikovsky Moscow Conservatoire with Vladimir Ovchinnikov. Since September 2017, he has studied at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire on a full scholarship with Pascal Nemirovski.He is a laureate of many national and international competitions, among them “Young Talents of Russia” (Russia, Moscow 2006), the 1st International competition “Sforzando” (1st Prize, Berlin, 2007), the International Alexander Scriabin Piano Competition (1stPrize, Paris 2011), the 8th Open Competition of Musicians Performers N. Sabitov (1stPrize, Russia, Ufa, 2012), the International Piano Competition “Minsk-2014” (2nd Prize, Republic of Belarus, Minsk, 2014), the 4th International Piano Competition “Russian season in Ekaterinburg“ (1st Prize, Russia, Ekaterinburg, 2015), the 4th International Piano Competition “Vera Lotar-Shevchenko”(2nd Prize,Russia, Ekaterinburg, 2016), 4thPrize of the 1st Saint-Priest International Piano Competition Saint-Priest (Lyon-France, 2017).In the UK, Roman won 1st Prize and the Audience Prize at the 10th Sheepdrove Piano Competition open to candidates from the eight major UK music colleges.He won the prestigious 2018 Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition, and the Orchestra Prize performing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No 1 with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (2018, UK).Roman is now regularly invited to give concerts in France, Italy, Germany, Republic of Belarus, Russia, UK, USA. He just performed with the Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra and the English Symphony Orchestra. In January 2019 Roman received “The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire- Silver Medal” from the Musician’s Company and became a member of Musician’s Company Yeomen Young Artists’ Programme. He was also invited to represent and launch the 2019 Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition at the House of Commons in London. Roman is a winner of the Denis Matthews Memorial Trust award, Kirckman Concert Society Artist and a scholar of the Drake Calleja Trust.In Summer 2019 Roman recorded a debut CD for Naxos with works by Liszt. As part of Fitzroy Piano Quartet Roman won the Royal Over-Seas League Annual Music Competition string ensembles section in January 2020.

Krzysztof Wiercinski in Warsaw the remarkable Wiercinski brothers.

By such an extraordinary coincidence it seems I had confused the younger brother of Andrej with Krzysztof.Both blond and prodigiously talented but this was a discovery I made after this concert in Warsaw.Some extraordinarily refined Chopin and Schubert playing from Warsaw in the Fryderyk Concert Hall from one of the finest pianists of his generation Krzysztof Wiercinski. Having heard his brother this summer in the Duszniki International Piano Festival of Piotr Paleczny where he was in a series that included Dmitri Alexeev and Federico Colli,I was once again seduced by the ravishing tone and aristocratic musicianship of this young musician.What remarkable brothers they are!

A very sensitive account of the Scarlatti Sonata in Fminor K 466.Caressing the keys in this deeply felt lament.But it was the fluidity of sound in the Schubert A minor sonata that was so remarkable.Even in the most strenuous passages there was an extraordinary sound very reminiscent of the Hungarian school of Geza Anda and Tamas Vasary .A deeply contemplative slow movement where the barely whispered echo of the tenor melodic line was quite magical and the frantic perpetual motion of the last movement was only relieved by Schubert’s ever surprising melodic outpouring.

The Chopin study op 10 n.8 glided with such ease from his well oiled fingers but it was the shaping of the left hand melodic line that was so remarkable. There was a superb sense of balance in the late nocturne op 62 n.1 where one could appreciate to the full his aristocratic sense of rubato and colour.

The sense of architectural shape and character made one appreciate even more the Chopin second scherzo as it built to its exciting close contrasting so well with the beautiful shape he brought to the eloquent central section


Stephen Kovacevich Mastery and Mystery at St Mary’s with Tamsin Whaley-Cohen

Thursday April 22 4.00 pm 

Stephen Kovacevich (piano)
Tamsin Waley-Cohen (violin) 

Beethoven: Piano Sonata in A flat op 110 Moderato cantabile,molto espressivo-Allegro molto-Adagio ma non troppo-Fuga allegro ma non troppo

Bach Allemande from the 4th Partita

Debussy: Violin Sonata in G minor

What a treat on these wonderful spring days to hear music played by a master.
Playing of almost whispered intimacy as Stephen Kovacevich shared the secrets of a lifetime ,living with the respect,intimacy and love that was divulged to a teenager from Los Angeles whom Myra Hess had taken under her wing more than half a century ago.
Playing with the intimacy that I have only heard from Kempff in his later years where the piano ceases to become a percussion instrument and every note sings or vibrates in sympathy with Beethoven at peace with the world.
It was very moving to realise that the Debussy sonata was also his last work and was in fact the last time that Debussy was heard in public.
The Allemande from the Fourth Partita by Bach was played with a luminous beauty and the stillness of music that is Universal.
If music be the food of love ……….play on.
A magical moment and an example to all the young virtuosi that Hugh Mather and his team very generously support.
It is quality not quantity that remains in the soul and enriches us forever

… and here is the recital https://youtu.be/ZlncIxMiNqQ

Stephen had played four recitals in my series in Rome between 1992 and 2004 .Always a cherished occasion for the programmes that he brought of Bach ,Brahms,Beethoven and Schubert,bathed as he was in the glorious tradition that Myra Hess had bequeathed to him.As a schoolboy in London I remember his memorable performances of Beethoven fourth concerto with Boulez coupled as it was with the Elgar Concerto with Jaqueline Du Pré in the same concerts with the BBC Symphony Orchestra on their early tours of America.I remember ,years later on one of his visits to Rome,when he decided the piano was more suited to Schubert’s last A major sonata rather than to the B flat that had been announced .He asked if he could change programme which was no problem for him as this music was such an integral part of his being.I notice too that in his first and last concerts for us he included the Sonata op 110 by Beethoven which he played today in Perivale in the charming deconsacrated church whose walls now ring with the sound of music.And what music was heard today where this work that was so much part of Myra Hess’s repertoire showed us that more than any other of the Beethoven Sonatas it is a great song from the first to the last note.Stephen,sitting very low as always – in Rome he asked if he could chop a few inches of the stool to make it even lower-as he barely seemed to depress the keys with no fuss or unnecessary histrionics but just listening so carefully to the sounds that were concealed in his very passionate but also intelligent soul.

There were wondrous homogeneous sounds from the very first notes and the opening trill just flowed with a natural simplicity from the heartwarming indication of Beethoven ‘con amabilità’ to the sublime ‘cantabile con intimissimo sentimento,ma sempre molto dolce e semplice’ – to quote Schnabel.The ethereal broken chords just fluttered over the keys in a vibration of sounds with the gentle bass chords just hinted at.The deep bass trills too were just vibrations of sound leading to a momentary passionate outpouring before the magical transitions to the development.The move from Eflat to Dflat was judged to perfection and created the mood for the opening theme accompanied by the subtle swelling of the cello voices where Beethoven’s very intricate indications were translated into sound with such clarity and meaning.The supreme legato of the coda was something to marvel at indeed and gave creed to Dame Fanny’s remark that people do not know how to ‘mould’ any more!The Allegro molto of the scherzo was played in a subdued manner and not the usual rumbustuous intrusion that lesser mortals offer.The clipped chords at the end just made the rests more meaningful.The treacherous trio section was made to sing instead of spitting blood and was a tour de force of control.There was a hushed opening to the Adagio of such calm and beauty.The mystery of the più adagio answered by the calm chords of the Andante and the gentle vibration of the high A opened a world of pure magic where the arioso dolente sang with a deeply personal voice that was even more moving on its return as it interrupts the fugue.A simple almost whispered eloquence as was the fugal last movement where his sense of finger legato was to marvel at indeed.I liked the pause between the end of the fugue and the change of key to the arioso ‘perdendo le forze ,dolente’.The staccato chords barely touched before growing in sound as Beethoven opens the chords with pedal to create a cloud on which the fugue ,now inverted,floats to take us to the ever more agitated movement on which the theme is allowed to bask in it’s ultimate glory with such a passionate outpouring of overwhelming commitment.

A serene work of Bach was the only possible reply to such words of worldly wisdom.From Stephen’s renowned performance of the Fourth Partita by Bach he chose just the Allemande that was played with a luminous simplicity where the music was simply allowed to unfold and tell its own wondrous story.

The Debussy Sonata was an intimate performance between friends.Some magnificent violin playing integrated so beautifully with the subtle sounds from the piano and was a joy and privilege to be abie to eavesdrop.

The sonata for violin and piano in G minor, L. 140, was written in 1917. It was the composer’s last major composition and the premiere took place on 5 May 1917, the violin part played by Gaston Poulet with Debussy himself at the piano. It was his last public performance.

The work has three movements:Allegro vivo Intermède: Fantasque et léger Finale: Très animé.From 1914, the composer, encouraged by the music publisher Jacques Durand,intended to write a set of six sonatas for various instruments, in homage to the French composers of the 18th centuryThe First World War , along with the composers Couperin and Rameau , inspired Debussy as he was writing the sonatas.Durand, in his memoirs entitled Quelques souvenirs d’un éditeur de musique, wrote the following about the sonatas’ origin:After his famous String Quartet, Debussy had not written any more chamber music. Then, at the Concerts Durand, he heard again the Septet with trumpet by Saint-Saëns and his sympathy for this means of musical expression was reawoken. He admitted the fact to me and I warmly encouraged him to follow his inclination. And that is how the idea of the six sonatas for various instruments came about.In a letter to the conductor Bernard Molinari, Debussy explained that the set should include “different combinations, with the last sonata combining the previously used instruments”. His death on 25 March 1918 prevented him from carrying out his plan, and only three of the six sonatas were completed and published by Durand.

Stephen Kovacevich is widely recognised as one of the most revered artists of his generation. With an international career spanning more than six decades, he has long been recognised as one of the most searching interpretors – “A musician completely absorbed in his craft, his interpretations are like no one else’s and always eminate directly from the heart: musical messages of wisdom, peace, resignation, and hope” (The Washington Post). He is known for never being afraid to take both technical and musical risks in order to achieve maximum expressive impact. Through this, he has won unsurpassed admiration for his piano-playing, none more than from Leopold Stokowski , who famously wrote: “You do with your feet what I try to do with my Philadelphia Orchestra” . Born in Los Angeles, Kovacevich laid the foundation for his career as concert pianist at the age of eleven. After moving to England to study with Dame Myra Hess, he made his European debut at Wigmore Hall in 1961. Since then, he has appeared with many of the world’s finest orchestras and conductors, including Hans Graf , Bernard Haitink , Kurt Masur , Yannick Nezet-Seguin , Sir Simon Rattle , and the late Sir Georg Solti . As concerto soloist, recent and forthcoming highlights include Aurora Orchestra/Nicholas Collon , Los Angeles Philharmonic/Mirga Gražinyte-Tyla , Orchestre symphonique de Montréal/David Zinman , Sydney Symphony/Vladimir Ashkenazy , and the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony/Sylvain Cambreling . In recital, recent and forthcoming highlights include performances in Europe, Asia, and the United States – including the NCPA (Bejing), the Phillips Collection (Washington), the Bridgewater Hall (Manchester), and the Wigmore Hall (London). Kovacevich also performs regularly across the Far East, Australia, and New Zealand, and is a regular guest at prestigious festivals worldwide – including Lugano , Verbier , and the Mariinsky International Piano Festival (the latter by personal invitation of Valery Gergiev ). Over the course of his extensive career, Kovacevich has forged many long-standing artistic partnerships, such as that with the late Sir Colin Davis with whom he made numerous outstanding recordings, including the legendary Bartok Piano Concerto No.2 with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Another such long-term affiliation is his professional partnership with Martha Argerich , with whom he regularly performs in duo on the world’s leading concert stages. Recent and forthcoming highlights for the Argerich-Kovacevich Duo include recitals at Het Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Philharmonie (Paris), Victoria Hall (Geneva), the Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles), and the Wigmore Hall (London). He is a committed chamber musician, with collaborations over the course of his long career including with such luminaries as the late Lynn Harrell , Jacqueline du Pré , and Joseph Suk . Kovacevich now enjoys regular artistic collaborations with such violinists as Nicola Benedetti , Renaud Capuçon , and Alina Ibragimova ; cellists Gautier Capuçon , Steven Isserlis , and Truls Mørk ; flautist Emmanuel Pahud ; and the Amadeus , Belcea , and Cleveland quartets. Stephen Kovacevich has enjoyed an illustrious long-term relationship with recording companies Philips and EMI. To celebrate his 75 th birthday, Decca released a Limited Edition 25-CD Box Set of his entire recorded legacy for Philips. In 2008, he re-recorded Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations , exactly 40 years after his first recording of the work. This Onyx recording won him the Classic FM Gramophone Editor’s Choice Award (2009) and the Gramophone Magazine Top Choice Award (2015), to quote: “His seasoned yet fearless mastery reveals something new with each hearing…” .

Born in London, Tamsin Waley-Cohen enjoys an adventurous and varied career. In addition to concerts with the Royal Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Hallé, Liverpool Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony, Royal Northern Sinfonia and BBC orchestras, amongst others, she has twice been associate artist with the Orchestra of the Swan and works with conductors including Andrew Litton, Vasily Petrenko, Ben Gernon, Ryan Bancroft and Tamás Vásáry. Her duo partners include James Baillieu and Huw Watkins. She gave the premiere of Watkins’ Concertino, and in Summer 2020 will premiere a new work for violin and piano with him at Wigmore Hall. She is thrilled to be a Signum Classics Artist. With her sister, composer Freya Waley-Cohen, and architects Finbarr O’Dempsey and Andrew Skulina, she held an Open Space residency at Aldeburgh, culminating in the 2017 premiere of Permutations at the Aldeburgh Festival, an interactive performance artwork synthesising music and architecture. Her love of chamber music led her to start the Honeymead Festival, now in its twelth year, from which all proceeds go to support local charities. She is a founding member of the Albion string quartet, appearing regularly with them at venues including Wigmore Hall, Aldeburgh Festival, and the Concertgebouw. In 2016-2017 she was the UK recipient of the ECHO Rising Stars Awards, playing at all the major European concert halls and premiering Oliver Knussen’s Reflection, written especially for her and Huw Watkins. In the 2018-19 season she toured Japan and China, and gave her New York Debut recital at the Frick.She is Artistic Director of the Two Moors Festival, and has previously been Artistic Director of the Music Series at the Tricyle Theatre, London, and the Bargello festival in Florence. She studied at the Royal College of Music and her teachers included Itzhak Rashkovsky, Ruggiero Ricci and András Keller.

Kasparas Mikuzis the outsider takes St Mary’s by storm

Tuesday April 20 4.0 pm 

Kasparas Mikuzis (piano) 

Bach: Prelude and Fugue C major BWV 846

Ciurlionis: Little sonata VL269-271

Schumann: Carnaval Op 9

Schumann: Arabesque Op 18

Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody no 12 in C sharp minor

A memorable recital from a true outsider.
A twenty year old student at the Royal Academy who bravely volunteered to stand in at barely a weeks notice for an indisposed colleague and took St Mary’s by storm today.

The final tumultuous pages of Liszt’s 12th Hungarian Rhapsody where his total abandon allied to an infallible technical command had all the excitement that had us on our seats cheering Rubinstein all those years ago.But there was the great sense of character from the thunderous tremolandi at the beginning and the sumptuous seductive melody the flows out of it.There was a wonderful gypsy sense of excitement but with such clarity allied to such sensual colours.A real stylist with a natural sense of rubato that comes from an inner feeling that cannot be taught.A real sense of heroism as he played with such overpowering command.Great flourishes ending in such precisely clipped chords opening the gates to a truly heart melting outpouring of melody with such a subtle sense of rubato.Crazy ending played with the real panache that the great virtuosi of the past would treat us to as they whipped themselves and the audience into a frenzy.I have mentioned Rubinstein’s memorable performances but who could ever forget Gilels with the Spanish Rhapsody that had us screaming for more like a football mob on scoring the winning goal.

But it was from the very first notes of Bach that one could feel there was something special in the air.As Dr Mather said at the end:we have all had a go at the first prelude in C but the subtle colouring and aristocratic control revealed such interpretative skills that were so natural that music seemed pour out of this young man’s subtle refined fingers.A calm flowing fugue where everything was so clear but also bathed in an atmosphere of absolute smoothness.

Fingers that later in Schumann Carnaval were to take us on a memorable journey from the commanding opening to the subtle capriciousness of Arlequin.The true nobility of the Valse Noble with the same subtle counterpoints that I have never forgotten from Cortot’s memorable recording.
There was absolute stillness in Eusebius with such ravishing sounds where each note spoke so movingly to the next in a self communing of such eloquent nostalgia.Florestan bursting in,carefully looking over his shoulder and Coquette beautifully flowing with such sly looks.Papillons fluttering so cleverly over the keyboard as the Lettres dansantes were suitably fleet and evasive.The passionate outpourings of Chiarina led to the most ravishing beautifully poised Chopin.There was such subtle delicacy in Reconnaissance where the duet between the voices in the central section contrasted so well with the opening repeated notes.The frantic squabbling of Pantalon et Colombine finished in such a beautifully capricious way too.Has Paganini ever got up to his diabolic antics with such precision and rhythmic drive and after all that ,Schumann’s subtle chordal apparition almost worked as the Valse Allemande retraced her steps as if the great violin virtuoso had not been so invasive!
Aveu was so beautifully played with such delicate tone and subtle sense of balance.If the gentle asides in Promenade seemed a bit too thrown away,the continual forward movement was mesmerising as was the pianissimo at the end before the final burst of energy in the Promenade and the youthful conviction of the Dance of David against the Philistines (food for thought today where only football seems to take the headlines!).A remarkable performance of a work that can often fall into rhetoric when in a lesser musician’s hands.

The Arabesque that preceded Carnaval was played with a sense of wonderment and beauty that just whet our appetite for more.
We were certainly not disappointed!

The little sonata by fellow Lithuanian Ciurlionis just showed us how many works we still have to discover.With it’s shadowed octaves in the first movement passionately shaped.The subtle duet between the hands in the second and the Pastoral finale.

Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis (1875 –1911) was a Lithuanian painter, composer and writer.He contributed to symbolism and art nouveau, and was representative of the fin de siècle epoch and is considered one of the pioneers of abstract art in Europe.During his short life, he composed about 400 pieces of music and created about 300 paintings, as well as many literary works and poems. The majority of his paintings are housed in the Ciurlionis National Art Museum in Kaunas,Lithuania and his works have had a profound influence on modern Lithuanian culture.( Vlado Perlemuter was born in Kaunas)

It was his voyage of discovery and wonderment that was so captivating in a recital that was refreshing as it was illuminating.
His great natural musicality being helped by his remarkable teacher Diana Ketler ( the much admired Cristian Sandrin was a student of hers too).Wonderful to see what musicianship these very talented young musicians can experience from three remarkable ladies : Madam Ketler at the RAM,Madam Havill at the Guildhall and Madam Fisher at the RCM.
What wonders are going on behinds the scenes.
How grateful we all should be to them with a lifetime dedicated to helping these greatly talented young artists.

Born in Šilute, Lithuania, Kasparas Mikužis started playing the piano at the age of 6. At the early age he was taught piano by Liudmila Kašetiene. Later, he studied at the National M.K. Ciurlionis School of Arts and The Purcell School with Justas Dvarionas. Since 2019, Kasparas is studying at the Royal Academy of Music with the pianist Diana Ketler. Kasparas’ distinctive piano playing was acknowledged when he became a scholar of ‘SOS Talents’ foundation at the age of 9. Since then, Kasparas regularly performs across Europe. From 2011 Kasparas has performed in the yearly Christmas concerts held on the Champs Elysées in Paris organised by ‘SOS Talents’. In 2012 he was given the opportunity to appear in a concert in Batumi, Georgia, which was televised by Mezzo TV and watched by both the Lithuanian and Georgian Presidents. Kasparas’ playing was also broadcasted on Radio Classique in France twice. Moreover, he has performed in the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva on four occasions and at the EMMA World Summit of Nobel Prize Peace Laureates in Warsaw, Poland. In 2018, Kasparas was invited to the opening concert of V. Krainev competition for young pianists in Kharkiv, Ukraine, where he performed S. Prokofiev’s 3rd piano concerto. In 2019 he opened 91st season of newly refurbished Kharkiv Philharmonic hall, playing together with Kharkiv Philharmonic orchestra and conductor Yuri Yanko. In addition, Kasparas has appeared on stages of Lithuanian National Philharmonic hall, Concertgebouw Hall, ‘Fazioli’ factory hall, Steinway hall in Barcelona, St Martin-in-the-fields church, Purcell room at Southbank, Wigmore hall and others. Kasparas is a laureate of 22 international competitions. In 2015 Kasparas won 1st prize at the piano academy and competition “Pianale Junior” in Fulda, Germany. Later, in 2016, Kasparas triumphed in Vlinius, winning Grand Prix at the 10th international B. Dvarionas competition for young pianists. In 2018, he won 1st prize at the Scottish International Youth Piano Competition in Glasgow, Scotland. Later this year he became two times 1st prize winner at the XXVIII Roma International Piano Competition by achieving 1st prizes in categories up to 19 and 25 years. In 2017 the Mstislav Rostropovich’s charity & support foundation ‘Pagalba Lietuvos Vaikams’ awarded Kasparas with their support and later in the year he received a letter of gratitude from the president of Lithuania for his role in representing Lithuania on an international stage. In 2018 Kasparas released his first CD album together with the “KNS Classical”, which is now being streamed on the major music platforms. Kasparas became a scholar of Drake Calleja Trust in 2019 and he is also supported by the ‘Talent Unlimited’ foundation.

Marylene Mouquet at Villa Grazioli for the Michelangeli Association in celebration of Beethoven

Marylene Mouquet at Villa Grazioli in Frascati .Two Beethoven sonatas op 13 and op 27 n.2 played with the great musicianship that the founder of the MIchelangeli Association has always shown and who has for some years given a platform to talented young musicians in the Aldobrandini Castle in Frascati at the centre of the Castelli Romani. Liszt and George Sand used to frequent the Villa on their ‘Grand tours’ of the hills around the Eternal City.For many years the distinguished French pianist has lived in Frascati on the hills overlooking Rome.Her next door neighbour,until recently,the Pope in the nearby Castel Gandolfo.Pope Francis, much to the dismay of the inhabitants has given up his summer palace to be nearer his congregation who ,until COVID, flocked to Rome to hear his wise words of brotherhood and tolerance.Marylene has long been the driving force of music via her Association dedicated to the memory of her mentor Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli.For many years she has included artists from the Keyboard Trust,founded by the assistant of Michelangeli -Noretta Conci Leech.I enclose an article about the remarkable Yuanfan Yang who was the last to give a live concert in Frascati before the pandemic struck .



Yuanfan Yang with Marylene Mouquet after his concert for the 100 Anniversary of the birth of Michelangeli
Villa Aldobrandini Frascati

Michael Foyle & Maksim Stsura at St Mary’s

Thursday April 15 4.0 pm 

Michael Foyle (violin) 
Maksim Stsura (piano) 

Elgar: Violin sonata in E minor Op 82 Allegro-Romance :Andante-Allegro non troppo

Kreisler: Caprice viennois

Kreisler: Tambourin chinois

Rachmaninov: Romance Op 6 no 1

Ravel: Pièce en forme de Habanera Tzigane

Thank you Christopher Axworthy. They are a fabulous duo, and it is quite a feat with both musicians memorizing works like the Elgar sonata. Here is the HD version https://youtu.be/nRzmZOkRs58

A lesson in duo playing today at St Mary’s.Two artists free from restrictions of reading the score listening so attentively to each other. The Elgar violin sonata never quite gaining its place on concert programmes as the Cello concerto written only a year later in 1919 was given a totally convincing performance of passionate involvement from the opening notes.A typically capricious Romance was followed by the Pastoral last movement where Elgar incorporates the melody from the Romance at the end as a tribute to the dedicatee who died before she could accept Elgar’s tribute.

Sir Edward Elgar wrote his Violin Sonata in E minor, Op. 82, in 1918, at the same time as he wrote his String Quartet in E minor and his Piano Quintet in A minor.These three chamber music works were all written at “Brinkwells”, the country house near Fittleworth in West Sussex that Lady Elgar had acquired for her husband to recuperate and compose in, and they mark his major contribution to the chamber music genre.His Cello Concerto of 1919 completed the quartet of introspective and melancholy works that comprised Elgar’s last major creative spurt before his death in 1934.Elgar’s wife noted that the slow movement seemed to be influenced by the ‘wood magic’ of the Fittleworth woods.When the sonata was close to completion, Elgar offered to dedicate it to a family friend, Marie Joshua, and wrote to her: “I fear it does not carry us any further but it is full of golden sounds and I like it, but you must not expect anything violently chromatic or cubist”. Marie Joshua died four days after receiving the letter, before she had had an opportunity to reply. As a tribute to her memory, Elgar quoted the dolcissimo melody from the slow movement just before the coda of the final movement.

All the charm and warmth of the much loved Kreisler followed with two typical famous encore pieces .Kreisler was one of the most noted violin masters of his day, and regarded as one of the greatest violinists of all time, he was known for his sweet tone and expressive phrasing.Like many great violinists of his generation, he produced a characteristic sound which was immediately recognizable as his own. Although it derived in many respects from the Franco-Belgian school, his style is nonetheless reminiscent of the gemütlich (cozy) lifestyle of pre-war Vienna .He gave the first performance of Elgar’s violin concerto and often gave recitals with Rachmaninov.And it was in fact the long drawn out nostalgia of Rachmaninov’s early Romance that followed. There is the famous story of Kreisler loosing his way during a recital with Rachmaninov and asking his partner desperately where they were.Carnegie Hall was Rachmaninov’s sang froid reply.

Colour and fireworks from Spain from the pen of a French man with Ravel’s Habanera and his Gypsy showpiece the Tzigane.Dedicated to the great niece of Joseph Joachim the great violinist friend of Brahms.Jelly d’Aranyi lived in a little village in Oxford – Ewelme with a Swedish count and her sister also violinist Adila Fachiri.A great violinist to who Bartok dedicated his two sonatas .She played a curious role in the emergence and world premiere in 1937 of Robert Schumann’s Violin Concerto claiming messages she received at a 1933 séance, allegedly from Schumann himself, about this concerto that had lain unnoticed in the archives.It is the basis of Jessica Duchen s best selling book :Ghost Variations .

The original instrumentation of the Tzigane was for violin and piano (with optional luthéal attachment). The first performance took place in London on April 26, 1924 with the dedicatee on violin and with Henri Gil-Marchex at the piano (with luthéal).The luthéal was, in Ravel’s day, a new piano attachment (first patented in 1919) with several tone-colour registrations which could be engaged by pulling stops above the keyboard. One of these registrations had a cimbalon-like sound, which fitted well with the gypsy-esque idea of the composition. The original score of Tzigane included instructions for these register-changes during execution but the luthéal, however, did not achieve permanence. By the end of the 20th century the first print of the accompaniment with luthéal was still available at the publishers, but by that time the attachment had long since disappeared from use.

Michael Foyle launched his career by winning The Netherlands Violin Competition in 2016. His London debut followed with a recital at the Wigmore Hall and since then he has performed recitals in the UK’s most prestigious venues, including Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, Buckingham Palace, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Bridgewater Hall and Usher Hall, regularly being broadcast on BBC Radio 3. In 2018-19 he released his debut CDs, ‘The Great War Centenary – Debussy, Janacek and Respighi Sonatas’ on Challenge Records and ‘Lutoslawski and Penderecki: Complete Violin and Piano Works’ on Delphian Records, both to critical acclaim. He now pursues a busy solo career, recently performing concertos with the English Chamber Orchestra, the Polish Baltic Philharmonic, Youth Symphony Orchestra of Russia in Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory, and a return to the Rotterdam Philharmonic. He has given over 200 recitals with duo pianist Maksim Stsura, and performed premieres of solo and chamber works by over 30 living composers, and performed as Guest-Concertmaster with orchestras such as BBC Symphony and The Halle. Michael became Professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London in 2016, the youngest violinist appointed in the institution’s 200-year history. Michael was born in Scotland in 1991 and, as a teenager, won the BBC Young Musician of the Year Tabor Award and led the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London with Maureen Smith (where he received the Roth Prize for the highest graduating violinist) and then at the Vienna Konservatorium with Pavel Vernikov. He won the Royal Overseas League String Competition, the Salieri-Zinetti International Chamber Music Competition and Beethoven Society of Europe Competition, and was selected for the Park Lane Group, City Music Foundation, Kirckman Concert Society, Making Music Young Concert Artists and Live Music Now. 

Pianist Maksim Stsura won First Prizes at the 7th Estonian Piano Competition (2008), the Steinway-Klavierspiel-Wettbewerb in Germany (2004), the International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition in Estonia (2000) and the Intercollegiate Beethoven Piano Competition (2013). He has appeared as soloist with orchestras such as the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and the Saint Petersburg State Academic Symphony Orchestra. As a chamber musician, Maksim is in great demand, collaborating with Jakobstad Sinfonietta (Finland), Mediterranean Chamber Brass (Spain), Florin Ensemble (UK) and Wiener Kammersymphonie (Austria), among many others. In 2014 he started his Doctoral course at the Royal College of Music, working towards his DMus. Maksim’s research has been generously supported by a Neville Wathen Award, Leverhulme Postgraduate Studentship and Mr Nigel Woolner MBE. His research titled ‘Piano Transcription of a 21st-century Orchestral Score – Freedoms and Limitations’ focuses on works by Mark-Anthony Turnage and James Dillon.Since 2012 Maksim has been the pianist in the award-winning Foyle-Stsura Duo, having performed extensively in the UK and internationally in venues including the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Bridgewater Hall in Manchester and the Wigmore Hall. He has played live on BBC Radio 3, NPO Radio 4 and Estonian Klassikaraadio and recorded for Delphian Records and Challenge Classics.


Andrea Bacchetti -Geniality in Genoa in praise of the Universal Genius of J.S.Bach

12 aprile 2021 ore 20:30

Intorno al Preludio: Andrea Bacchetti

  • Johann Sebastian Bach
    Il clavicembalo ben temperato – Libro II, BWV 870 – 893

Bach gave the title Das Wohltemperirte Clavier to a book of preludes and fugues in all 24 major and minor keys, dated 1722, composed “for the profit and use of musical youth desirous of learning, and especially for the pastime of those already skilled in this study”. Some 20 years later Bach compiled Book 2 completed in 1742,which was intended as a complement to Book 1. It is generally far more difficult than Book 1, with greater technical and structural difficulty for the performer. It was the ultimate workbook, open to constant change and refining by Bach himself.

Genius at work indeed in Genoa tonight.
130 minutes of total concentration and music of a crystalline clarity but with a sense of colour and character that kept this imaginary audience spellbound from the first to the last of the second book of the Wohltemperirte Clavier.
Bach had infact indicated that they were composed ‘for the profit of musical youth desirous of learning and especially for the pastime of those already skilled in this study’.
Busoni famously said the first book were for performers and the second for composers.
In fact the second book in much longer and more complex but this did not deter Andrea Bacchetti ,despite admitting his fear at such a daunting task ,from giving a note perfect performance.
Without the score in a completely empty hall with just the camera watching and listening to his every move.
I have known and admired Bacchetti for many years.He even gave a noble performance of the Goldberg Variations in the Ghione theatre ,fifteen years ago,where Nikolaeva and Tureck had trod before him.

But I was not expecting a performance of such authority and distilled genius as he offered today to the glory of the Universal genius that is Johann Sebastian Bach.
From the very first noble notes of the C major prelude through a world of musical wisdom and experience with the sheer beauty of the C sharp major prelude or the jagged edges of the F major Fugue.His highly original reading of the F minor prelude contrasting with its bucolic fugue.The complexity of the F sharp minor fugue contrasting with the mellifluous G major prelude or the decisiveness of the G minor fugue.The B minor prelude played much more flowingly than I remember Gulda in tennis cap staring at us as he teased the rhythm out of this beguiling prelude.The nobility of the D major prelude and the wonderful colouring of the fugue was followed by the refined rhythmic buoyancy of the D minor prelude with it’s long unwinding three part fugue.The beautiful pastoral flow of the E flat prelude leading to the aristocratic shaping of the fugue.The mellifluous E major giving way to the solemn immensely complex four part fugue.The luminosity he brought to the F sharp prelude contrasted with the extreme complexity of the fugue played with an amazing clarity and control.The gaiety of the dance in the G sharp minor prelude only highlighted the extreme chromaticism of the fugue.The all too brief florid line in A major contrasted with the operatic double counterpoint of the A minor prelude before the rhythmic urgency of the fugue.The mellifluous B flat prelude and fugue just flowed so naturally from his hands as we arrive at the serenity of B flat minor and the extreme complexity of the four part fugue.The final B minor I have mentioned above but I see the words of Ebenezer Prout written in my score by my teacher Sidney Harrison:’pray unto the lord my God re – member ever more to sing his praises ‘ and the fugue ‘and we shall go forth passing through the mountains and valleys that be on the way to heav’n’.How apt they are today as Bacchetti had taken us on a long multi faceted voyage of discovery.(I remember visiting Angela Hewitt in the interval of one of her Bach recitals at La Pergola in Florence and asking her if she knew about Ebenezer Prout- we had both been introduced to each other in our youth by Sidney Harrison.She not only knew them but began singing them at full voice until they came to ask her to continue the second part of her recital!)

But Bacchetti has such a refreshing way of looking at the music with his highly original intellect that allows the music to flow so naturally from his fingers.
And what fingers they are !
Hardly using the sustaining pedal as his finger legato and sense of balance were of such transcendental control that one was hardly aware of it except that his clarity and precision were of almost superhuman prowess.
The immensely complex B flat minor prelude and fugue, after two hours of playing,showed no sign of fatigue or strain and the simplicity of the final B minor was so refreshing coming as it does like a breath of fresh air after the most dense and intense air that Bach shares with us in his long journey of genial inspiration.

Born in 1977, Andrea Bacchetti had from a very early age received advice from musicians such as Karajan, Magaloff, Berio, Horszowski .At the age of eleven, he made his debut with I Solisti Veneti, conducted by Claudio Scimone.
From then on, he has has played in international festivals all over the world as Lucerne, Salisbury, Belgrade, Santander, Toulouse (Piano aux Jacobins), Lugano, Sapporo, Brescia and Bergamo, Bologna, Rome (Uto Ughi for Rome), La Roque d’Anthéron, Milan (MI.TO), La Coruña (Festival Mozart), Pesaro, Cervo, Martina Franca (Valle d’Itria Festival) Bellinzona,Ravenna, Ravello, Santiago de Compostela (A. Brage piano cycle), Warsaw (Beethoven Festival), Paris (La Serre d’Auteil), Bad Wörishofen, Spoleto, Husum, Murten Classics.
He has also performed in : Konzerthaus (Berlin); Salle Pleyel, Salle Gaveu cycle Piano 4 (Paris); Rudolfinum Dvorak Hall (Prague); Teatro Coliseo (Buenos Aires); Rachmaninoff Saal, The Moscow State Philharmonic Society (Moscow), IBK Concert Hall Arts Center (Seoul); Auditorium Nacional de España (cycle of Scherzo and CNDM), Teatro Real, Fundación March (Madrid); Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian (Lisboa); Toppan Hall, Hamarikyu Asahi Halland Musashino Concert Hall (Tokyo), De Warande (Antwerp); Sociedad Filarmonica (Lima), Fundación Filarmonica (Quito), Huelecourt Art Project, (Bruxelles); Mozarteum Brasileiro e Cultura Artistica (São Paulo); Hyogo Performing Arts Center (Osaka), Philia Hall, (Yokohama), Parco della Musica (Rome);Zentrum Paul Klee (Bern); Gewandhaus (Leipzig).
He has played with many orchestras including Lucerne Festival Strings, Camerata Salzburg and Salzburg Chamber Soloists, RTVE Madrid, Sinfónica de Asturia, Oviedo, OSCYL, Valladolid; MDR Leipzig, Kyoto Symphony Orchestra, Sinfónica de Tenerife, Filarmonica della Scala (Milan), OSNR Turin, Sinfónica del Estado de Mexico, RTL Lubiana, Cappella Istropolitana, Bratislava, MAV Budapest, Russian Chamber Philharmonic St. Petersburg, Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonique de Nice et de Cannes, Prague Chamber Orchestra, ORF Wien, Toscanini Philharmonic of Parma, Philarmonie der Nationen (Hamburg), Enesco Philharmonic (Bucharest); with many conductors as Bellugi, Guidarini, Venzago, Luisi, Zedda, Manacorda, Panni, Burybayev, Pehlivanian, Gullberg Jensen, Nanut, Lü Jia, Justus Frantz, Baumgartner, Valdes, Renes, Bender, Bisanti, Ceccato, Chung amongst others.
Currently he records exclusively for Sony Classical. His discography includes :SACD with the “6 Sonatas” by Cherubini (Penguin Guide UK, Rosette 2010), “The Scarlatti Restored Manuscript” (RCA Red Seal) that received an ICMA award in the Baroque Instrumental CD category in 2014; his Bach recordings include the “Two-Part Inventions & Sinfonias” (CD of the month for BBC Music Magazine – September 2009), “The Italian Bach” (CD of the month for The Record Geijutsu – May 2014) and the Keyboard Concertos BWV 1052 – 1058 with the ONR Rai National Orchestra (CD of the month for Musica, May 2016).
He is an assiduous chamber music player playing with artists such as Filippini, Larrieu, Prazak Quartet, Uto Ughi, Quatuor Ysaye, Cremona Quartet, String Quartet of La Scala.Composers such as Vacchi, Boccadoro, Del Corno, amongst others, have dedicated works to him.

Ancora giovanissimo, Andrea Bacchetti raccoglie consigli da Karajan, Magaloff e Berio.
Debutta ad 11 anni con i Solisti Veneti in Sala Verdi a Milano.
Da allora suona nei maggiori festival internazionali e si è esibito in prestigiosi centri musicali.
Andrea Bacchetti è ospite in Italia e all’estero delle maggiori orchestre e delle più importanti associazioni concertistiche.
Fra la sua discografia è da ricordare il SACD con le sonate di Cherubini (Rosette Penguin Guide UK), The Scarlatti Restored Manuscript (vincitore dell’ICMA nella categoria Baroque Instrumental); di Bach, Invenzioni e Sinfonie (CD del mese BBC Music Magazine), The Italian Bach (Cd del mese Record Geijutsu); i concerti per tastiera di Bach alla guida dell’Orchestra Nazionale della RAI, premiato con 5 stelle dalla rivista MUSICA, Goldberg Variations (CD del mese delle riviste Pizzicato e Fonoforum).
Nella musica da camera proficue sono state le collaborazioni con Rocco Filippini, il Prazak Quartet, il Quatuor Ysaye, il Quartetto di Cremona, Uto Ughi, Maxence Larrieu e Antonella Ruggero.