Cristian Sandrin Master musician at St Mary’s

Tuesday 13 April 4.0 pm 

Mozart: Piano Sonata in C major K279 Allegro-Andante-Allegro

Chopin: Etude Op 25 no 11 ‘Winter Wind’

Ravel: 3 pieces from Miroirs
Une barque sur l’océan
Alborada del gracioso
La vallée des cloches

Ravel: Toccata from ‘Le Tombeau de Couperin’

Ginastera: Piano sonata no 1 (1952) Allegro marcato-Presto misterioso-Adagio molto appassionato-Ruvido ed ostinato

‘Sorry about the internet problems this afternoon – hope it didn’t spoil a magnificent recital. Here is the HD version’-Hugh Mather

Cristian had told me that there were so many notes in today’s recital that having just recorded the Goldberg variations he was getting quite alarmed.
I told him I would send him some notes over the air if need be.
Unfortunately today being the 13th the internet connection at St Mary’s had decided to play up!
Luckily there was no need for my assistance because from the very first notes of Mozart’s early C major sonata it was obvious with what artistry this young Romanian pianist dispensed of the notes.The Sonata was written at the age of 18 during the visit Mozart paid to Munich for the production of La finta giardiniera in 1774 .
A Mozart so full of character it had me almost rolling in the aisles as you could almost see Mozart laughing as the acciaccatura’s poked fun at the operatic scenes that were being enacted before our very eyes.
A rhythmic energy and infectious ‘joie de vivre’ that is only heard these days from Martha Argerich’s genial hands.With Mozart’s miraculous bursts of song coupled also with his impish sense of humour.
A sumptuous cantabile in the Andante with a sense of legato that like the ‘bebung’ on the fortepiano allowed him to join one note miraculously to the other in a vibration of sounds that belies the percussive nature of the instrument.
Mozart of course has the last laugh with a final Allegro of such bucolic charm that Cristian and we seemed surprised that the fun should ever end.

A Chopin Winter Wind where one could again marvel at the legato of the opening statement with a legato I have only noticed from the aged Wilhelm Kempff in his visionary Liszt recordings.I could only catch glimpses of Cristian sailing up and down the keyboard in between the hic-cups of internet glitches and I will catch up with the count as St Mary’s download their superb HD recording.

Miroirs suffered the same fate – but I have heard Cristian’s superb performances on other occasions ( see below 4/3/2019)
A miracle occurred in Alborada where the gremlins of St Mary’s allowed us to be moved by the deeply felt recitativi and of course marvel at the control and technical prowess in the double glissandi and repeated notes.

Repeated notes is the operative word with Ravel’s sumptuous Toccata that ends the suite ‘Le Tombeau de Couperin’ . Ravel had dedicated each movement to friends that had fallen in the First World War where the composer was a humble lorry driver.
He was one of the few who lived to tell the tale of sacrifice not to say political butchery of a generation.
A superb performance if not only for the relentless rhythmic drive but above all the magic moments when the sun shone through and glistened amongst the butchery.

Of course Ginastera is a piece of great effect,always,but in Cristian’s artistic hands it became of Bartokian proportions. Ginastera was commissioned by the Carnegie Institute and the Pennsylvania College for Women to write a piano sonata for the Pittsburgh International Contemporary Music Festival in 1952.The performance was given by pianist Johana Harris, wife of American composer Roy Harris ,and the work was dedicated to both Harrises. Ginastera’s intention for the piece was to capture the spirit of Argentine folk music without relying on explicit quotations from existing folk songs.Not only the savage relentless ritual dance rhythms but also the whispered legato of the second movement and the great cries of lament in the third before the relentless final toccata of erotic triumph with which it drives the latin temperament to its inevitable goal.

Cristian’s first contact with the piano happened naturally, at very young age, since music played an inherent part of family life. Born in Bucharest, Cristian first studied in Romania under Marina Dragomirescu and Cristian Dumitrescu, winning numerous local competitions and having his public debut at the prestigious Romanian Atheneum at the age of 13. Upon moving to London, Cristian accepted a place at the Royal Academy of Music, where he studied for 7 years: a particular opportunity, to be closely mentored by both Diana Ketler and Christopher Elton. He completed his last degree at the Academy in 2019, the Advanced Diploma, a special programme reserved only for the very fine students of this institution. Before that, in 2018 he received a DipRAM distinction, awarded for an outstanding performance for the Master of Music final recital. Cristian Sandrin is very passionate about music, and his love for Mozartian repertoire led him to conduct numerous piano concertos from the keyboard, in Summer Piano Festivals and for the official opening of the Angela Burgess Recital Hall at the Royal Academy of Music. Cristian toured extensively across the UK as an artist of the Countess of Munster Recital Scheme from 2018 to 2020. He performed a very successful and critically well received debut solo recital at the Wigmore Hall in 2017. A very special and memorable experience for any young musician, this Wigmore opportunity was made possible by the support of the Kirckman Concert Society. Further support from Imogen Cooper’s Music Trust provided Cristian with exclusive mentorship and guidance in 2017. Since 2019, Cristian is being supported by the Keyboard Charitable Trust.Other UK engagements included recitals at St Martin in the Fields, Queen Elizabeth Hall, St James Piccadilly, Brighton, Oxford, Chipping Campden. In Romania, Cristian Sandrin is a frequent guest artist of the Bacau State Philharmonic, Sibiu State Philharmonic, Ramnicu-Valcea State Philharmonic and Bucharest Symphony Orchestra. International engagements included performances at Salle Cortot in Paris, Marstall Platz in Berlin, Salla Manuel de Falla in Madrid, Palazzo Ricci in Montepulciano, “La Fenice” Theatre in Venice, “Bulgaria Hall” in Sophia and the Polish National Philharmonic Hall. In the past season he has been invited to perform solo recitals and chamber music in the Naarden International Piano Festival (Netherlands), the Eifel Musicale Festival (Germany) and the KameArt Experience (Romania).He is a laureate of many international competitions, most recently being awarded the “Roslyn Tureck Special Prize” for the best interpretation of Bach during the Olga Kern International Piano Competition 2019 in New Mexico, USA. Other recent achievements included top prizes in the Città di Ollegio Piano Competition (2019), Concours Musical de Versailles (2019), the Windsor International Piano Competition (2018), the Sheepdrove Intercollegiate Piano Competition (2018), Automobile Club de France Piano Competition (2011), the “Animato” Competition in Paris (2012), ProPiano International Competition (2010), “Yourii Boukoff” Competition (2009) and the Eastbourne Symphony Orchestra Young Soloist Competition (2015). Cristian is a past winner of the Harold Craxton Chamber Music prize (in 2016), and the William Sterndale Bennett Prize (in 2014) at the Royal Academy of Music.Cristian is grateful extremely grateful to the Tillett Trust, the Hattori Trust, the Martin Musical Scholarship Fund, Help Musicians UK, the Cohen Foundation, the Harold Craxton Memorial Trust and the Royal Society of Musicians. The financial support offered by these trusts enabled Cristian to study at the Royal Academy of Music, one of UK’s leading music institutions.

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