Luke Jones towering the heights at St Mary’s

Tuesday 15 June 4.00 pm 

Luke Jones (piano)

From the luminosity of one of Bach’s loveliest creations through the astonishing pyrotechnics of Feinberg’s revisitation of Tchaikowsky.
And from the depths of creation scaling the pinnacle of the piano repertoire with Liszt’s mighty B minor sonata even a robust northern ‘lad’ was visibly drained after some towering performances in which his youthful passion and virtuosity were stretched to the limit.

Here is the review of the same programme that he performed a month ago https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2021/05/19/luke-jones-for-cranleigh-arts-simplicityintelligence-and-virtuosity/

Bach: French Suite No.5 in G BWV 816
Allemande / Courante / Sarabande
Gavotte / Bourree / Loure /Gigue



Feinberg/Tchaikovsky: Scherzo from Symphony no 6



Liszt: Sonata in B minor S 178
(single movement)

Well done Luke – a wonderful recital. Here is the HD link https://youtu.be/ki1auZAHHnw

Luke Jones is a Welsh pianist. Originally from Wrexham in North Wales, he started playing the piano at the age of 5 and made his debut recital at Oriel Wrecsam aged 10. Since then he has performed all over Britain in venues such as Bridgewater Hall – Manchester, Eaton Square – London, St. David’s Hall – Cardiff, Bradshaw Hall – Birmingham, Pump Room – Bath, St. George’s – Bristol etc. He has also performed in France (Salle Cortot – Paris), Italy, Luxembourg (Philharmonie de Luxembourg), Austria (Wienersaal – Salzburg), Spain (Palau de la Musica Catalana – Barcelona), Majorca and Slovenia and has won prizes in competitions around Europe notably 2nd Prize and Mompou Prize at the prestigious Maria Canals International Piano Competition, 1st Prize at the Bromsgrove International Musicians Competition, 1st Prize in “Aci Bertoncelj” International Piano Competition, Slovenia. 1st Prize in “Section A” Chopin-Roma International Piano Competition, Italy, and 3rd Prize in the Manchester International Concerto Competition, UK. Most recently, Luke was awarded the RNCM Gold Medal, the college’s highest award for Performance. Furthermore, he has had broadcasts of his performances on BBC Wales Radio, S4C Television, Radio Vaticana and Telepace in Italy. He has performed with orchestras such as BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Manchester Camerata, Orchestra of the Swan and Jove Orquestra Nacional de Catalunya. At the age of 5 he studied with Eva Warren, and then at the age of 8 began studying with concert pianist Andrew Wilde. Subsequently at the age of 11 he was awarded a place at Chetham’s School of Music where he studied under the Head of Keyboard, Murray McLachlan from 2006-2013. Between 2013-2015 he studied at Conservatorio di Musica ‘Lorenzo Perosi’ Campobasso under the guidance of Mº Carlo Grante. He recently completed a bachelor’s degree with First Class Honours at the RNCM and is continuing his studies there on the Masters’ Programme with a full scholarship from the ABRSM under the tutelage of Dina Parakhina.Luke has been fortunate to have had masterclasses/lessons with notable pianists such as Kathryn Stott, Leslie Howard, Vladimir Tropp, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Bernard Roberts, Hamish Milne, Peter Donohoe, Stephen Hough, Llyr Williams, David Wilde and Philippe Cassard.

GYORGY PAUK looking back. In peace and harmony via music

György Pauk 
in conversation

The eminent violinist talks about his long and distinguished career

with extracts from some of his recordings
of Mozart,Bartok,Lutoslawski

Fascinating conversation with the much loved legendary violinist GYORGY PAUK .Hungarian born but British and proud of it.From the first time he and his wife arrived as political refugees from Hungary via Paris and Amsterdam and looking across Waterloo Bridge thought at last we have arrived home.A moving story all written about in his autobiography that like the great and gentle man he is , all proceeds go to helping young musicians

Here is the HD link to Gyorgy Pauk’s account of his extraordinary life. https://youtu.be/U_CAN3Tx-Zs

Born in Budapest in 1936, György Pauk suffered the loss of both his parents in the Holocaust.

He spent the remaining years of the Second World War in the care of his grandmother in the spartan confines of the Budapest Ghetto.

Showing extraordinary musical talent from an early age, he began to learn the violin and was admitted to the Liszt Academy at the age of only 13.

After winning several international violin competitions, Pauk defected from Soviet-controlled Hungary, claiming asylum in Paris and becoming a ‘stateless person’ at the age of 22.

He met and married his young Hungarian wife in Amsterdam.

The couple moved to London on the advice of Yehudi Menuhin, gaining British citizenship in 1967. Over the course of more than 50 years, György Pauk became an internationally acclaimed concert violinist, appearing worldwide with the leading orchestras and conductors, and making countless broadcasts and recordings.

The renowned trio :Peter Frankl,Gyorgy Pauk,Ralph Kirshbaum

Now in his ninth decade, he is a renowned pedagogue based in London, and regarded as the foremost living ‘torch-bearer’ of the Hungarian Violin School, which traces its origins to the 19th century violinist, Josef Joachim.



György Pauk’s memoirs have been published in Hungarian and are now available in an English translation. Copies can be purchased via this link https://www.thestradshop.com/store/thestrad/gyorgy-pauk/ at a price of £15 plus p&p. Signed copies are available for £25 plus p&p via this link. https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/304021322002 . All proceeds go directly to support young musicians.

Hugh Mather with the book

Vanessa Benelli Mosell in Siena Micat in Vertice young artist’s series

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
Bonn 1770 – Vienna 1827

SONATA n. 16 in sol maggiore op. 31 n. 1 (1801-1802)

1. Allegro vivace
2. Adagio grazioso 
3. Rondò. Allegretto 

NIKOLAI KARLOVICH MEDTNER
Moscow 1880 – London 1951

from 2 Skazki (2 Fairy Tales) op. 20 (1910)
n. 1 Allegro con espressione

from Zabýtye molítvy (Forgotten Mélodies) op. 38 (1919-22)
op. 38 n. 6 Canzona Serenata

KARLHEINZ STOCKHAUSEN
Kerpen 1928 – Kürten 2007

Klavierstück VII (1954)

MARCO STROPPA
Verona 1959

from Miniature estrose (Book 1 1991-2002) 
Birichino, come un furetto

FRANZ LISZT
Raiding 1811 – Bayreuth 1886

Réminiscences de Norma S. 394 (1841)

Interpreter
VANESSA BENELLI MOSELL piano

Recorded live
Boccherini Room
Palazzo Chigi Saracini, 15 May 2021.

Once again, the Accademia Chigiana hosts the young pianist Vanessa Benelli Mosell within the Micat Concerti in Vertice Season. This concerts is part of the Roll over Beethoven cycle, a project supported by the SIAE in 2019, which presents the chamber music of Ludwig van Beethoven interpreted by young talents, perfected at the Siena Academy. The program combines masterpieces of romantic and modern pianism, favoring the meeting of very different composers, but united by the same look towards the future and moved by the same spirit of innovation that made them approach the piano composition, each from their own historical and cultural context. There are nineteenth-century compositions represented by Beethoven, Medtner and Liszt, up to the present day with Stroppa, and passing through the twentieth century with Stockhausen, the author of which Vanessa Benelli Mosell is one of the leading interpreters.

The Italian pianist Vanessa Benelli Mosell is establishing herself as one of the most important names on the international music scene today for her technical virtuosity, her musical depth and expressive intensity of her pianism and her conducting style. Benelli Mosell’s charismatic artistic talent and natural leadership are quickly establishing her as one of the most interesting personalities of the new generation of young conductors. Combining raw power and boundless imagination, her electrifying musicality was heavily influenced by her mentors, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Yuri Bashmet. She is also appreciated for her knowledge of the most demanding and complex repertoires as well as her particular dedication to contemporary music.
Her recordings by Stockhausen and her recording debut with the London Philharmonic exclusively for Decca Classics have received universal acclaim from critics and audiences.

VANESSA BENELLI MOSELL, nata a Prato nel 1987, ha iniziato lo studio del pianoforte a tre anni. A sette anni è stata ammessa all’Accademia Pianistica Internazionale “Incontri col Maestro” di Imola, dove ha studiato con Franco Scala fino al 2006. A undici anni ha debuttato negli Stati Uniti presso il “92nd Street Y” di New York. Si è perfezionata con Joaquín Achúcarro presso l’Accademia Musicale Chigiana di Siena nel 2005 e 2006 e nel 2007 ha studiato al Conservatorio Čajkovskij di Mosca con Mikhail Voskresenskij. Si è laureata nel 2012 presso il Royal College of Music di Londra sotto la guida di Dmitrij Alekseev.
Vanessa Benelli Mosell ha suonato in prestigiose sale da concerto, tra le quali Berliner Philharmonie, Auditorium di Radio France di Parigi, Beijing National Center for the Performing Arts, Kings Place di Londra e Teatro alla Scala di Milano, sia da solista sia in formazioni cameristiche al fianco di Renaud e Gautier Capuçon, V. Repin, M. Quarta, D. Kashimoto, J. Rachlin, R. Vlatković e del violoncellista francese Henri Demarquette.
Nei 7 album realizzati per l’etichetta discografica Decca Classics, rientra l’incisione dei Klavierstücke di Stockhausen, che l’hanno portata a collaborare a stretto contatto con l’autore e con eminenti compositori contemporanei fra i quali G. Benjamin, H. Dufourt, S. Gervasoni, M. Matalon e M. Stroppa.
In qualità di direttrice d’orchestra ha lavorato con la Wiener Kammer Orchester e il Divertimento Ensemble di Milano.

A programme of Beethoven,Medtner,Stockhausen,Stroppa and Liszt for the Chigiana’s series of concerts under the title ‘Roll over Beethoven ‘for young interpreters that have perfected their studies in the famous Academy founded by Count Chigi Saracini.It was in the 20’s and 30’s that many noble families opened up their family homes to the great musicians who were only too pleased to be their guests in their Palaces in Siena,Perugia or Aquila Horowitz,Rubinstein,Casals,Segovia,Cortot,Serkin,Busch were just some of the names of their illustrious guests .It is enough to look at the photos with dedications on the pianos of Count Chigi in Siena or Alba Buitoni in Perugia to realise how enlightened these noble families were to invite musicians who would otherwise have only rarely visited Italy on their worldwide concert tours.It was in 1968 that two young freshers at the Royal Academy hearing about the marvels of the Accademia in Siena took time during the Summer break to go and listen to the marvels that were talked about of Guido Agosti’s summer studio in Siena.Having inherited the class from Alfredo Casella in a period when Franco Ferrara,Segovia,Navarra,Gulli,Brengola and many other visiting artists including Casals and Cortot were giving summer Masterclasses in the magical city of Siena.In fact there is a photo of Cortot turning the pages for Guido Agosti who is accompanying his wife Lydia Stix Agosti.A real Mecca for musicians that inspired these two freshers who thought they would get the sack from the RAM in London for daring to seek out other sources of musical inspiration.When they got back to London they were very surprised to find that not only was their secret out but that they had been awarded the Tobias Matthay Fellowship to help towards the cost of their wondrous adventure.One of them went on ten years later to meet his future wife in Siena whilst accompanying the class of Agosti’s wife.He even went on to create a theatre in Rome with his wife the illustrious Ileana Ghione that inspired by Count Chigi’s example became a Mecca for all the musicians denied a space in the Eternal City.Teatro Ghione was the much loved home, like the Wigmore Hall is in London today,for the 30 years that Rome was denied the magnificent concert halls of Renzo Piano.It became loved home to Agosti,Perlemuter,Nikolaeva Tureck,Tortelier,Ricci,Cherkassky Fou Ts’ong and above all it was Stockhausen’s favourite theatre.It is nice to be reminded of our great friend reading that Vanessa was his last student and that she has recorded all his Klavierstucke.I am very happy to read also that Vanessa had passed several summers in Siena in the class of the highly esteemed Joaquin Achucarro (who incidentally was the solist in the very first orchestral concert that I attended at the Festival Hall in London.)

It was indeed her Beethoven that shone out with a sparkling light as she had said it would in her opening interview.A Beethoven full of contrasts and rhythmic playfulness that she played with scrupulous attention to Beethoven’s very precise indications.A beautifully poised Adagio grazioso that is a truly inspired bel canto that she played with superb legato with the lightly staccato accompaniment beautifully judged.The slightly menacing middle section was maybe a little too aggressive where the indications are only forte-piano not sforzando in a Sonata that has very little of Beethoven’s usual aggressive contrasts but is full of a ‘joie de vivre’that was rarely the world which he inhabited.The Allegretto was played with great brilliance and rhythmic drive and in fact Beethoven does not add the grazioso that is it’s true character.Vanessa is a superb pianist and a very fine intelligent musician and to see her at the piano is like watching the water nymphs in Copenhagen.Her actual movements on the keys though do not mould the sounds naturally like a sculptor or painter with a brush and palette of colours.She has a technical perfection that with her superb intelligent musicianship shapes the music with great architectural arches and rhythmic precision but this lack of natural movement sometimes does not allow her the mellow shaping of a singer having to breathe.It may also be the magnificent Fazioli that has a very bright sound that gave a little too many Beethovenian contrast in a sonata that is ,unusually,all radiance and light.The two works by Medtner were magnificently played and her superb temperament and technical control together with a sense of colour really brought these two rarely played works to life.As Vanessa said in her interview she tries to contrast well known works with lesser known ones as she did today.It was fascinating to hear the Klavierstuck VII and the contemporary work by Stroppa which were like a breath of fresh air between Beethoven and Liszt. I was reminded of Rubinstein who would add four mazurkas by Szymanowski to his all Chopin recitals saying that it was like a lemon sorbet after a rich meal that just whet your appetite for more! The Stockhausen and Stroppa were superbly played most notably without the score too.She had really digested these works with the same intelligence and superb technical control that were a hallmark of everything she played.

Lydia and Guido Agosti with my wife Ileana Ghione in Teatro Ghione,Rome

Stockhausen loved my theatre in Rome and he loved playing with the lighting and sound from the back of the hall.His 12 Klavierstucke we’re on the programme one year played by a young German pianist and also his daughter.The organisers had hired a Yamaha piano but Stockhausen seeing the Steinway ‘D’ in a corner begged me to be able to use that instead.Of course Mr Stockhausen but you must reassure me that it will only be played with two hands and two feet in the conventional manner!Well he ‘almost’ kept his word ,but in the last Klavierstuck his daughter started to sit on the keys as she fired toy missiles into the public!The missiles were another story as he had just performed the same concert in Palermo and the missiles were not returned by an excited public only too happy to have a memento of such an occasion.’Chris’ what shall we do ,exclaimed the Maestro.Show me one and we will see what can be done.He luckily had saved one and I showed it to our stage technician who during the day set about making a dozen missiles.’What are you making’ the actors passing under the stage would ask.’Missiles for Maestro Stockhausen’ was Castelli’s innocent reply.The concert was a great success and a few weeks later I got a big packet in the post from Kurten.The address written in red .It was a couple of signed prints from Stockhausen that now hang in the most frequented room in my house! A heart shape to which was added ……..dially Stockhausen!It was the Liszt Norma Fantasy or more precisely reminiscences of Norma that showed off to the full the superb artistry of Vanessa.Sumptuous sounds,cascades of notes but above all a musicality that was of the magic world of Opera.Such tenderness,passion and excitement creating the unique world of Bellini’s wondrous world .

Matthew McLachlan’s own goal at St Mary’s

Tuesday 8 June 4.00 pm 

Beethoven: Piano sonata in F sharp Op 78

Chopin: Fantasy in F minor Op 49

Scriabin: 24 preludes Op 11

A terrific recital ! Here is the link https://youtu.be/mK4Rpow2nHg

What a family! Absolutely bowled over by the superb musicianship and subtle artistry of Matthew McLachlan having been ravished,seduced and astonished by his family in the past.
Matthew who is a guest in my house in Kew I often hear practicing but more often see jogging,boxing or training at the gym.I had no idea until hearing his public performance today of the heart that beats inside that seemingly simple exterior.A Beethoven played with a loving fluidity and sparkling cantabile that it is easy to imagine that the Countess Thérèse must have been his distant beloved.But such playful high jinks too in the Allegro vivace played with a true ‘joie de vivre.’
Chopin’s Fantasy played with a nobility and sensibility that is rare.Sound that is both full and at times heartbreakingly sensitive.But it was the Scriabin Preludes that showed off his Kaleidoscopic sense of colour with ravishing sounds that ranged from the fullest passionate outpourings to the almost inaudibly whispered.Reams of mellifluous notes that seemed like streams of gold and silver poured effortlessly from his fingers but with a strong personality that kept him on the high wire without ever fearing to fall .
The final passionate outpouring in D minor was enough as he closed the piano lid and made a charmingly modest thank you speech to Hugh Mather and Roger Nellist for all they do to give a platform to young artists like himself and his family.A deeply felt dedication to Donald Page -one of the best men he knew – just showed what sensitivity beats inside that ‘lad’ from Manchester.
So now they are five – the youngest by the way,the sixth,is a professional footballer but his father tells me when not saving goals even he plays a mean prelude and fugue.Bewitched ,bothered and bewildered.I am indeed amazed

https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2021/02/21/murray-mclachlan-at-st-marys/

  1. Adagio cantabile — Allegro ma non troppo
  2. Allegro vivace

The Piano Sonata No. 24 in F sharp, Op. 78, nicknamed “à Thérèse” because it was written for his pupil Countess Thérèse von Brunswick who,with her sister Josephine was his pupil.According to her diary Beethoven had stronger feelings than just for her intellect and sisterly tenderness .For sometime it has been thought that the famous letters from Beethoven to his ‘distant beloved’ were indeed to her.Composed in 1809 and consisting of two movements:According to Czerny,Beethoven himself singled out this sonata and the ‘Appassionata’as favourites together later with the ‘Hammerklavier’Wagner found it ‘profoundly personal’ but D’Indy said :’What sort of artist or man could admit that the only work dedicated to the Countess of Brunswick is the insipid Sonata in F sharp,the same recipient of the passionate letters that all the world has read’

There was a beautiful naturally flowing tempo from the very first notes..A great sense of contrasts as his fluidity of sound was allied to a scrupulous attention to Beethoven’s intentions.There was a real ‘joie de vivre’ in the Allegro vivace as he playfully swept up and down the keyboard with jeux perlé,dynamic contrasts and Beethoven’s own pedalling giving such a brilliant sparkle to the innocence of this bagatelle.

The Chopin F minor Fantasy had such beauty of sound with the opening legato and staccato and tempo di marcia united to carry us forward on a magical journey indeed.It was played with great nobility and passion and the beautiful Lento sostenuto was filled with subtle colour and flexibility.A very subtle addition of a bass d flat on the justly triumphant final return of the main theme just gave more depth to the sound .It was his aristocratic holding back of the bass notes in the passionate build ups that was so thrilling.The long held pedal in the final Adagio sostenuto like in Ravel’s Ondine created a magic out of which wove a wave of sounds that took us to the final imperious chords.

Scriabin’s 24 preludes were modelled on Chopin’s 24 Preludes op 28: They also covered all 24 major and minor keys and follow the same key sequence: C major, A minor, G major, E minor, D major, B minor and so on, alternating major keys with their relative minors, and following the ascending circle of fifths .They were composed in the course of eight years between 1888–96,being also one of Scriabin’s first published works in 1897,in Leipzig, together with his 12 Études, Op. 8 (1894–95).It is considered an outstanding set among Scriabin’s early works.Here are one or two personal thoughts as the preludes unwove.

  • No.1 in C major – Immediately entering into the special world of Scriabin with fluidity and passion.
  • No. 2 in A minor – Allegretto -Beautifully nostalgic and wistful,played with beguiling luminous sounds of purity and clarity
  • No. 3 in G major – Vivo -Flowing streams of notes like Chopin’s 8th prelude.
  • No.4 in E minor – Lento -Beautiful left hand melodic line played with very subtle rubato and nobility of sound.
  • No. 5 in D major – Andante cantabile- Languid melodic line played with subtle flexibility and shape with some magic bell like sounds at the end.
  • No. 6 in B minor – Allegro -Passionate Chopinesque octaves in an outpouring of romantic sounds played with a great sense of grandeur.
  • No. 7 in A major – Allegro assai-wistful melodic line on a stream of beautifully shaped fluid sounds.A wonderfully controlled passionate climax.
  • No. 8 in F♯ minor – Allegro agitato-A meandering melodic melody over a rumbling bass disappearing to a mere whisper.
  • No.9 in E major– Andantino-An almost improvised melodic line shaped so sensitively
  • N0.10 in C sharp minor– Andante-Great beauty of the tenor melody with a magical accompaniment and ravishingly deep bass note to end.
  • No. 11 in B major – Allegro assai -Such freedom allied to a sense of direction
  • No. 12 in G♯ minor – Andante -Luminous sounds of great delicacy.
  • No. 13 in G♭ major – Lento -beautiful melodic line with the left hand counterpoint just underlining the sentiment of the right.
  • No. 14 in E♭ minor – Presto-Agitated passionate outpouring in constant movement.
  • No. 15 in D♭ major – Lento – A beautiful left hand solo played with sensitivity until the right hand enters with such clarity and radiance
  • No. 16 in B♭ minor – Misterioso -as Matthew had said there is a similarity with Chopin’s Funeral March rhythm disguised in Scriabin’s clothes building to a sumptuous climax before melting to nothing.
  • No. 17 in A♭ major – Allegretto-Scriabin’s melodic invention seems quite endless.
  • No. 18 in F minor – Allegro agitato-A passionate outpouring to the final chord
  • No. 19 in E♭ major – Affettuoso- Beautiful mellifluous outpouring of sumptuous sounds
  • No. 20 in C minor – Appassionato-A melodic line in octaves with an ever more passionate outpouring of subtle colouring to it’s magical ending.
  • No. 21 in B♭ major – Andante-Capricious meanderings with such flexibility and beauty.
  • No. 22 in G minor – Lento -Deeply melancholic.
  • No. 23 in F major – Vivo- The same liquid flow as Chopin’s penultimate prelude with the ending just thrown off.
  • No. 24 in D minor – Presto-The final passionate outpouring of repeated chords played with fluidity and passion .It brought this multi coloured performance to a tumultuous end.The only thing to do after a performance like that is to shut the piano and pray that when it is reopened some of today’s magic might still be in the air !

Matthew McLachlan was born in 2000 and started piano lessons with his father in 2008. At 11 years of age he passed grade 8 and entered Wells Cathedral School as a specialist musician, studying with John Byrne. After two years in Somerset he entered Chetham’s in Manchester where he studied piano with Dina Parakhina and Cello with Gill Thoday. After gaining the ATCL and LTCL recital diplomas with distinction in 2014 and 2015, Matthew was awarded the FTCL in 2016. This followed on from winning third prize in the senior division of the first Scottish International Youth Prize Competition, held at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in July 2016. In 2014 Matthew’s performance of Ravel’s G Major Piano Concerto was commended in the Chetham’s Concerto competition and in the same year he was a prizewinner at the 2014 Mazovia Chopin Festival in Poland. As a result of his performance in Mazovia, he was selected to perform a 60-minute solo recital at the 2015 World Piano Teachers’ Conference (WPTC) in Novi Sad, Serbia. In 2016 Matthew gave many recitals and was a finalist in the Chetham’s Beethoven Piano Competition for the second year running. In March 2017 he was awarded first prize in the Chetham’s Senior Bach competition. In August 2017 he performed Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto no. 1 in the Paderewski Festival in Poland. In Autumn 2017 he had a tour of concert performances featuring Brahms’ Sonata no. 1 in C major. Before leaving Chetham’s, Matthew won the school’s Bosendorfer competition, playing Stravinsky’s ‘Three movements from Petrushka’. In 2018 he performed Mozart’s 13th concerto in Trieste, Haddington and Rhyl as well as Tchaikovsky’s first and Beethoven’s fourth concerto in Buxton with the orchestra of the High Peak. In the winter of 2018, the Knights of The Round Table awarded Matthew with a full scholarship at the Royal College of Music in London, where he now studies. Although 2020 saw many concerts cancelled, Matthew gave online performances and has recently been taken under the wing of Talent Unlimited, thanks to Canan Maxton.

Sandrin plays Mozart -simplicity and purity in Bucharest

This is the video link recorded in Bucharest on the 3rd June 2021 https://youtu.be/jC2cdL1dRXon

https://www.cristiansandrin.com/

The Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major K.503, was completed by Mozart on December 4, 1786, alongside the Prague Symphony K. 504. Although two more concertos would later follow, K 537 and K 595,this work is the last of what are considered the twelve great piano concertos written in Vienna between 1784 and 1786.Widely recognized as “one of Mozart’s greatest masterpieces in the concerto genre.”Though Mozart performed it on several occasions, it was not performed again in Vienna until after his death, and it only gained acceptance in the standard repertoire in the later part of the twentieth century.

It is in fact one of Mozart’s noblest concertos where Mozart’s sublime musical invention just seems to overflow as one wondrous melody follows another.

The Allegro maestoso seemed at first rather fast even though the distinguished conductor Christian Badea directed with such authority and rhythmic precision.But as soon as the soloist entered with such disarming purity,just a simple strand of comment and the the music found its own tempo with crystal clear scales like reams of quicksilver of such delicacy and sensibility.The constant change between major and minor was superbly understood where almost unnoticeable inflections and hesitations just made the music speak with the aristocratic nobility that was very much Serkin’s.There was a magical interplay between soloist and orchestra of real chamber music proportions especially in the development where the question and answer was absolutely mesmerising.There was a purity of sound from the piano with trills that seemed like jewels and a beauty of sound even in the noblest of comments.The cadenza by Alfred Brendel was of a simplicity and of such style that even the orchestra were captivated.

The sublime Andante was played with disarming simplicity together with wistful playfulness where the orchestra and soloist were playing as one. Listening attentively under the expert guidance of Christian Badea who was overseeing this chamber music performance with complete understanding and allowing the music to unfold so naturally.There were some very delicate embellishments that Cristian added with such good taste and sense of style that it just added to the intensity of emotion in this extraordinarily poignant movement.Adding very discreetly a deep bass note that just added to the radiance and luminosity of the melodic line.The final scale from the pianist was so delicately and finely judged that it just seemed to disappear into infinity.

The Allegretto seemed again very fast but it was ,as in the first movement so finely judged that as the piano entered it seemed so right. Cristian’s fleeting fingers played with such feather like agility as they seemed to dust the keys ready for the continuous interruption of melodic invention that like Schubert seems to know no limit.Delicately embellished rondo on each return just added to the scintillating beauty of this movement.

A standing ovation from the socially spaced audience was offered an encore of Ravel’s Une barque sur l’océan of scintillating colour and superb control.This magical piece from Miroirs just seemed to pour fromCristian’s fingers with the same natural musicianship that had been so rewarding in the Mozart Concerto.An aristocratic musicianship that shows a maturity way beyond his youthful and reticent appearance.

Christian Badea (né Cristian Badea) is a Romanian-American opera and symphonic conductor.A native of Bucharest ,Romania , Badea’s early training was as a classical violinist in Bucharest and Brussels. He later studied conducting at the Juilliard School of Music in New York.After winning the Rupert Conducting Competition in London (1976) he was invited by Gian Carlo Menotti to conduct at the Festival Dei Due Mondi di Spoleto and right after he is appointed musical director of the Italian edition of the festival, and later on in a similar position for the American edition. In the next decade he conducts at Spoleto and at Charleston a series of operas which will establish him a reputation: Menotti’s Maria Golovin, The Last Savage and The Saint of Bleecker Street, and also Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth from Mtsensk and Samuel Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra to great acclaim. His recording of Samuel Barber’s opera Antony and Cleopatra received a Grammy in 1985.In 1983 he was appointed artistic director of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra in Columbus, Ohio. During his nine-year tenure here he records two discs with the music of Roger Sessions and Peter Mennin praised by the musical critics.He made his debut with The Metropolitan Opera in NewYork on tour at Boston in 1986 conducting Tosca with Grace Bumbry. During the next decade, until 1995, Christian Badea performed as conductor for 167 times, in a repertoire including: Tosca, Aida, La traviata, Cavalleria rusticana, Pagliacci, Boris Godunov, La bohème, Don Giovanni, La fanciulla del West, Madama Butterfly, Rigoletto. In 1990 he conducted the Metropolitan Gala opening the season with La bohème, the cast including Plácido Domingo and Mirella Freni.At Wiener Staatsoper he performed as a conductor for 19 times between 1992 and 1995 in operas like Tosca, Aida, Le contes d’Hoffmann, Otello and La bohème. The most notable of these was the premiere of Les contes d’Hoffmann in 1993, staged by Andrei Serbian and with a cast including Plácido Domingo, Natalie Dessay, Barbara Frittoli and Bryn Terfel.He is regularly invited to the Royal Opera House Covent Garden with 32 appearances as conductor in La bohème, Tosca and Turandot.His opera career includes performances at Opéra de Lyon, Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam, English National Opera, Royal Opera Copenhagen, Royal Opera Stockholm, Opera Australia, Arena di Verona, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Budapest State Opera.In 2006 he starts to conduct in Romania, notably with the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra at the Romanian Athaeneum , one of the most notable moments being a semi staged concert of Parsifal, in the double role of conductor and stage director. In 2009 he opened the Enescu Festival in Bucharest with Haga Philharmonic Orchestra.As an orchestral conductor, Badea has performed in concert halls throughout Europe, North America, and Asia: Carnegie Hall (New York), Suntory Hall (Tokyo), Salle Pleyel (Paris), Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), conducting ensembles like Royal Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, Gothenburg Symphony, Czech Philharmonic, Sankt Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Residentie Orchestra, Amsterdam Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre Nationale de Lyon, Accademia di Santa Cecilia Orchestra (Roma), RAI Orchestra (Torino), Maggio Musicale Orchestra (Florence), Gulbenkian Orchestra (Lisabona) or Orquesta Nacional de Espana among others.

https://www.onjam.tv/cristian-sandrin/imogen-cooper-music-trust-presents-cristian-sandrin-piano-recital

https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2021/04/12/cristian-sandrin-master-musician-at-st-marys/

https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2020/10/13/cristian-sandrin-at-st-marys/

Victor Maslov the virtuous virtuoso virtually at St James’s Piccadilly 4th June 2021

Joseph Vella Sonatina op 30

Sergei Rachmaninov Sonata in D minor op 28 Allegro molto-Lento-Allegro molto .

Video link to the concert :https://youtu.be/HF63Mfked-Yn

I was totally mesmerised by a performance from an artist that listens so carefully to every sound with a sense of balance and complete mastery that allowed him to give a towering performance of Pictures from an Exhibition.” CHRISTOPHER AXWORTHY (Jan 2021).

https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2021/01/26/victor-maslov-the-birth-of-a-great-artist/

Once again I was mesmerised by Victor’s recent performances that show a mastery of sound and colour allied to his intelligent musicianship and passionate involvement.A Sonatina by Vella was enough to show immediately his control of sound and his sense of rhythmic energy as he plunged into this little known work with a conviction and involvement that was totally convincing .But is was in the first sonata by Rachmaninov that he showed off his total mastery.A sense of architecture and sumptuous sounds that transformed this long misunderstood work into a tone poem of quite extraordinary originality.The second sonata ,since Horowitz’s performances in the 80’s,has become part of the standard repertoire for aspiring young virtuosi. But the first has long been in it’s shadow and only now is being fully appreciated thanks to performances of the caliber of Alexandre Kantorow recently in Paris and now Victor Maslov in London.

The Sonatina op 30 by Joseph Vella was written in 1979 and premiered in 1983 in Malta by Margaret Cini .It is a short work of barely eight minutes divided into three movements.Very much influenced by Prokofiev starting with a spiky very busy fugato played with great clarity and rhythmic energy .It contrasted with the very expressive central movement of solitude and desperation,played with a beautiful sense of colour with a swirling accompaniment to the solo melodic line.The toccata type last movement with continual repeated notes was like Ravel’s Toccata from Le Tombeau.But on these notes floats a melodic line leading to a very atmospheric ending with solitary isolated notes similar to the opening coming to a gradual stop and creating a sense of unity.An effective piece by a Maltese composer of note and is one of the set pieces for the International Piano Competition in Malta in which Victor has been selected to take part.

Joseph Vella was a Maltese composer and conductor (1942 – 2018). Studied with his father, was admitted a Fellow of the London College of Music in 1967, graduated in music from the University of Durham, UK, and continued his studies with Franco Donadoni in Composition and Franco Ferrara in Conducting in Siena, Italy. In 1958 he composed an orchestral suite Three Mood Pieces op 4 (played at the Manoel Theatre, Valletta) which introduced him to the public as a composer. Together with Verena Maschat he set up the School of Music in Valletta in 1972. In 1994 he was appointed Associate Professor of Music at the University of Malta.

Piano Sonata No. 1 in D minor op .28, by Sergei Rachmaninov was completed in 1908.It is the first of three “Dresden pieces”, along with the 2nd Symphony and part of an opera, which were composed in Dresden.It was originally inspired by Goethe’s play Faust ; although Rachmaninov abandoned the idea soon after beginning composition, traces of this influence can still be found.After numerous revisions and substantial cuts made on the advice of his colleagues, he completed it on April 11, 1908. In November 1906, Rachmaninov, with his wife and daughter, moved to Dresden primarily to compose a second symphony to diffuse the critical failure of his first Symphony, but also to escape the distractions of Moscow.There they lived a quiet life, as he wrote in a letter, “We live here like hermits: we see nobody, we know nobody, and we go nowhere. I work a great deal,”but even without distraction he had considerable difficulty in composing his first piano sonata, especially concerning its form.

It was obvious from the deep brooding lament of the opening that there was already magic in the air as these haunting themes were revealed with such impressive aristocratic ease.They were rudely interrupted by cascades of notes that took us to the opening of the Sonata.These themes were to appear over and over again during the Sonata that gave a sense of architectural shape much as Liszt had done in his B minor sonata and one could appreciate the suffering that the search for a form must have cost the composer. There were cascades of notes that created sumptuous harmonies and colour in Victor’s sensitive hands.A work that has suffered from so called ‘virtuoso’ performances now has found an artist that can shape the notes into layers of sound and allow the contours to create an overall cohesive shape.The tenor melody in the Moderato with an accompaniment that just seemed to vibrate in perfect harmony was of ravishing beauty due to his very subtle sense of balance.Swirls of notes brought to a mellifluous climax ,all played with such sumptuous ease that one was never aware of the extraordinary technical difficulty.The haunting opening motif appearing always on the horizon.After and exciting build up ‘poco a poco crescendo e agitato’ a great outburst over enormous sonorities brought us once more to the melodic opening theme and a magical passage high up on the keyboard like bells in the distance as the movement came to a gradual peaceful end.A very atmospheric introduction in the Lento gave way to a typical Rachmaninov melody of nostalgic lament played with a wonderful sense of flexibility .It led to the più mosso before dissolving into a magical cadenza that led to the recapitulation and a pianissimo ending with the opening haunting theme raising it head yet again.An Allegro molto of great fury and passionate abandon was quite breathtaking and the rhythmic almost Schumannesque interruptions had some magical colours of ravishing beauty in the più mosso.It was only a short rest from the unrelenting rhythmic energy that Victor unleashed as he brought the movement to a brilliant close with the final triumphant chordal outpouring of the theme and the glittering final exultation of this quite extraordinary performance

Russian pianist Victor Maslov was praised as “one of those people who is close to all-round mastery of his repertoire” by the New York Concert Review, following his performance at Weill Recital Hall (Carnegie Hall), New York in 2010. Victor is currently studying at the Royal College of Music, London, with Prof. Dmitri Alexeev and Prof. Vanessa Latarche as a Ruth West Scholar. In 2017 he became an Eileen Rowe Musical Trust Award Holder. Victor began his studies at the Gnessin Moscow Special School of Music, where he was taught by his mother Olga Maslova. He later became a scholar of the Vladimir Spivakov International Charity Foundation and has received masterclasses from Dmitry Bashkirov for several years. Victor has been a prize winner in several international competitions, including First Prize at the Nikolai Rubinstein International Piano Competition (Paris 2004), Musicale dell’Adriatico (Ancona 2007), Overall Prize Winner of the 47th Concertino Praga International Radio Competition for Young Musicians (2013), Two times winner of Concerto Competition (Royal College of Music, 2015, 2018), and the First prize winner at the 2nd International Rachmaninoff Piano Competition (Moscow 2020). Additional prizes include Fourth Prize at the Vladimir Horowitz International Competition for Young Pianists (Kiev 2012), Second Prize at the Astana Piano Passion (Astana 2015), Second prize at Joan Chissell Schumann Prize (London 2019) and Third prize at the 6th Umanitaria Societa Competition (Milan 2019). He gave his concerto debut at the age of nine with the State Symphony Orchestra of Moscow and has since performed with orchestras such as RCM Symphony, RCM Philharmonic, Symphonic Orchestra of Czech Radio, Astana Opera Symphonic Orchestra, Kostroma Symphonic Orchestra, Penza State Symphonic Orchestra, State Orchestra “New Russia”. Victor has given solo performances at international music festivals across the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Turkey, Switzerland, Russia, Israel, and the USA. Venues have included Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Weil Recital hall at Carnegie Hall, Elgar Room at the Royal Albert Hall, Cadogan Hall, Great Hall of Moscow Conservatoire, Smetana Hall and Rudolfinum.

The Keyboard Charitable Trust presents
Victor Maslov – Live Online Recital

“I was totally mesmerised by a performance from an artist that listens so carefully to every sound with a sense of balance and complete mastery that allowed him to give a towering performance of Pictures from an Exhibition.”
CHRISTOPHER AXWORTHY Co-Artistic Director, Keyboard TrustHere is your free link to watch the concert for the Keyboard Trust New Artists Concert Series broadcast on the 12th May recorded from St Matthew’s Church, Ealing:https://youtu.be/ZkoUrw_N9DE

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15 AUGUST – 4 SEPTEMBER 2021


In 2021 the second grand edition of the “Classic Piano” Malta International Piano Competition will be held in the historic capital city of Valletta in an event which will bring together 70 extraordinary young performers from across the world in a spectacular display of musicality, tenacity and prodigious skill. Following preceding stages in Austria, USA, China, Israel, Japan, Italy, South Korea, Switzerland, UK, Belgium, Russia, Armenia and Germany as part of the “14 ways to Malta” International Piano Competition 2021, this final stage of the competition invites the top five ranked participants from each event to compete in Malta for a total prize fund of €300,000. The final stage of the competition will be held in four rounds with candidates required to perform a range of classical and contemporary repertoire including works by the event’s Composer-In-Residence, Alexey Shor. “Music is the universal language of mankind” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Dinara Klinton in Perivale and Washington ‘Dance,Song,Tales,Flowers and Romance’

London’s Keyboard Trust and the Arts Club of Washington Present
3pm New York/D.C., 8pm London –livestreamed from St. Mary’s Perivale, London with grateful thanks to Hugh Mather and colleagues.

https://youtu.be/Itq5M61AhqY

“An astonishing achievement…a wonderful instinct…her response to the Byronic sweep of Liszt’s imagination enthrals at every point…Klinton can find a complete world in a single quiet chord.” — BBC Music Magazine

Taneyev: Prelude and Fugue in G sharp minor Op 29

Lyadov: Prelude in B minor Op 11

Glinka/Balakirev: The Lark

Medtner: 4 Fairytales Op 54

Rachmaninov: Daisies Op 38 no 3
Lilac Op 21 no 5
Elegy Op 3 no1

Stravinsky/Agosti: The Firebird suite

An amazing journey indeed for Dinara Klinton as she took us on a nostalgic journey to her homeland.Some sumptuous sounds and a feeling of aching nostalgia as she looked back to the stories told by Taneyev,Lyadov,Glinka,Medtner,Rachmaninov and Stravinsky.As with all journeys ,especially in this last year,it was not without the unexpected.Streamed live from London to Washington there was a general breakdown of the internet in west London that meant the journey was delayed by a few hours.Thanks to the expert recording facilities at St Mary’s in Perivale,Dr Mather,Roger Nellist and their team had an unexpected change of horses but the carriage arrived safely at its destination.Not aware of these technical problems of streaming Dinara just allowed her heart to stream and stretch out to her audience worldwide with yearning nostalgia.Playing of such ravishing beauty and astonishing technical command that was quite breathtaking as she invited us on to her magic carpet to visit a world much better than the one we had left behind for this all too short journey.

The Prelude and Fugue by Taneyev that opened the programme showed off all the remarkable qualities of Dinara’s artistry.The beautifully expressive Prelude with a magical melodic line over a brooding bass.According to Dinara,in her charming introductory presentation,it is based on a Russian folk melody like the Lyadov that was to follow.Keeping her introduction short, she spiritedly suggested that her playing was much better than her talking,at least she hoped so!There was indeed a clarity to her playing of almost string quartet quality where you could follow so clearly the different layers of sound as they in turn created such sumptuous harmonies.The featherlight scale at the end of the prelude was thrown off with quite ravishing ease.She attacked the fugue with a rhythmic energy and drive that reminded me much of the world of Shostakovich that was still only on the horizon.Quite exhilarating virtuosity and a scintillating ending thrown off with the consummate ease of a true virtuoso.

Sergei Taneyev (1856-1915) was not only a virtuoso pianist but also an outstanding composer of his day.He became known as one of the best performers of his generation and brought some of the greatest piano works to Russian audiences, giving the Russian première of Brahms’ Piano Concerto in D minor. Before that, he gave the Moscow première of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto, which the head of the Moscow Conservatory, Nikolai Rubinstein, had declared ‘unplayable.’He entered the Conservatory at age 9, graduating at age 15, having studied composition with Tchaikovsky and piano with Nikolai Rubinstein. After conquering Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, the composer asked him to give the Russian première’s of his Piano Concerto No. 2 and his Piano Trio in A minor and after Tchaikovsky’s death, he also gave the première of his Piano Concerto No. 3.Following Tchaikovsky’s departure from the Moscow Conservatory in 1878, Taneyev started to teach there, remaining until 1905. His students included Scriabin ,Rachmaninov,Glière and Medtner.The 1905 Revolution caused Taneyev to leave the Conservatory and resume his concert and composing career more intensely. His Prelude and Fugue in G sharp minor, Op. 29, was the only piano work that he gave an opus number. Written in 1910, the work combines his own long-standing research into early music and, at the same time, is a combination of chromaticism and polyphony that would have been unknown to Bach. The work was written in memory of his nurse, Pelageya Vasil’yevna Chizhova, who had been with the composer his entire life. He put his emotions into the melancholic Prelude and then contrasted it with a fiery Fugue. This work was one of the inspirations for Dmitri Shostakovich’s prelude and fugue compositions

The Lyadov Prelude is a hauntingly beautiful piece played with a sense of balance that allowed the melodic line to shine with a rubato that gave so much shape and meaning to this deeply nostalgic Russian melody.Bringing this short jewel to a sparkling atmospheric ending was the ideal preparation for the better known Lark by Glinka in the famous re visitation of Balakirev.Anatoly Lyadov taught at the St. Petersburg Conservatory from 1878, his pupils included Prokofiev and Myaskovsky.Consistent with his character, he was a variable but at times brilliant instructor.Lyadov’s critical comments were always precise, clear, understandable, constructive, and brief…. Stravinsky remarked that Lyadov was as strict with himself as he was with his pupils, writing with great precision and demanding fine attention to detail. Prokofiev recalled that even the most innocent musical innovations drove the conservative Lyadov crazy. “Shoving his hands in his pockets and rocking in his soft woollen shoes without heels, he would say, ‘I don’t understand why you are studying with me. Go to Richard Strauss . Go to Debussy .’ This was said in a tone that meant ‘Go to the devil!'”

The Lark by Glinka in Balakirev’s arrangement opened with an expressive recitativo commented on with arabesques of shimmering sounds before the sumptuous beauty of this haunting melody by Glinka .Some ravishing cadenzas by Balakirev just added to the magic that was being created especially when the melody returns ornamented with ever more elaborate decoration.The poco meno mosso after a scintillating pianissimo cadenza leads us to the utter simplicity of the melody punctuated by trills and ornaments creating the enchanting atmosphere of Glinka’s beautiful sad melody, The Lark which is the tenth piece from his collection of twelve songs called Farewell to St. Petersburg. Dinara showed us her wonderful sense of colour and style of an era when piano playing was also seduction of the senses long before the percussive element of the piano was to be so prominently promoted by Stravinsky and friends!

I remember being enchanted by this piece when as a schoolboy I first heard it on a piano roll played by Richard Buhlig,a pianist of the great Romantic era of piano playing.These piano rolls had been collecting dust for years before Frank Holland discovered them together with the player pianos which he lovingly restored and eventual put on display at his Piano Museum in Brentford.The BBC got wind of these marvels ,via Sidney Harrison,that included piano playing of an era that had long been forgotten with the unbelievably subtle playing of leggendary virtuosi of the past like Rosenthal,Lhevine,Levitski,Godowsky and Rachmaninov.They were broadcast late at night on the BBC third programme and were programmes that were to ignite the imagination of young aspiring musicians who were later to carry the torch for a virtuosity that was to do more with subtle sound that with speed!

4 Fairy Tales by Medtner . N.1 The birds’ tale was played with such clarity as the bird hopped from branch to branch so vividly depicted in Dinara’s performance that had many similarities to Schumann’s Prophet Bird .N.2 A rhythmic scherzo as the melodic line changed hands in a playful duet full of energy and with a melodic build up only to be interrupted by the scherzo again.N.3 A. Strangely meandering organ grinder – a brooding work leading to the beggar,with a beseechingly beautiful melodic line and a very effective ending of upward disappearing scale movement.

Nikolai Karlovich Medtner 24 December 1879] – 13 November 1951 after a period of comparative obscurity in the twenty-five years immediately after his death, he is now becoming recognized as one of the most significant Russian composers for the piano.A younger contemporary of Rachmaninov and Scriabin he wrote a substantial number of compositions, all of which include the piano. His works include fourteen piano sonatas , three violin sonatas , three piano concerti , a piano quintet, two works for two pianos, many shorter piano pieces, a few shorter works for violin and piano, and 108 songs including two substantial works for vocalise n. His 38 Skazki(generally known as “Fairy Tales” in English but more correctly translated as “Tales”) for piano solo contain some of his most original music.At the outbreak of the Second World War, Medtner’s income from German publishers disappeared, and during this hardship ill-health became an increasing problem. His devoted pupil Edna Iles gave him shelter in Warwickshire where he completed his Third Piano Concerto , first performed in 1944.He died at his home at Golders Green,London in 1951 and is buried alongside his brother Emil in Hendon Cemetery.

Beautiful luminous sounds in Daisy and Lilacs played with ravishing beauty and delicacy.The Elegy was achingly beautiful with a melody full of expressive longing and melancholy played with an aristocratic nobility.There was a magical central section with a tenor melody accompanied by delicate arabesques leading to a passionate outpouring of sumptuous sounds.

The piano transcription of three movements from The Firebird by Stravinsky was written by Guido Agosti in 1928 and dedicated to the memory of his teacher Busoni.A fascinating work that immediately demonstrated the astonishing brilliance and rhythmic energy of Dinara in the Danse Infernale.There was a sudden burst of melody amidst the cascades of notes with clouds of sounds played with a ravishing sense of colour.There was a magnificent sense of balance and legato playing as the sun suddenly appeared in the finale with a radiance that was breathtaking as it gradually began to shine brighter and brighter.A tour de force of transcendental piano playing but also of musical intelligence and understanding.

Guido Agosti (11 August 1901 – 2 June 1989) was an Italian pianist and piano teacher.He was born in Forlì in 1901 and studied piano with Ferruccio Busoni,Bruno Mugellini, and Filippo Ivaldi,graduating at the age 13. He studied counterpoint under Benvenuti and literature at Bologna University starting his professional career as a pianist in 1921. Although he never entirely abandoned concert-giving, nerves made it difficult for him to appear on stage,and he concentrated on teaching. He taught piano at the Venice Conservatoire and at the Santa Cecilia Academy in Rome . In 1947 he was appointed Professor of piano at the Accademia Chigiana Siena on the express wish of Alfredo Casella .He also taught at Weimar and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.

After sharing the top prize at the 2006 Busoni Piano Competition age 18, Dinara took up a busy international concert schedule, appearing at many festivals including the “Progetto Martha Argerich” in Lugano, the Cheltenham Music Festival, the Aldeburgh Proms and “La Roque d’Antheron”. She has performed at many of the world’s major concert venues, including the Royal Festival Hall and Wigmore Hall in London, Berliner Philharmonie and Konzerthaus, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Gewandhaus zu Leipzig, New York 92Y, Cleveland Severance Hall, Tokyo Sumida Triphony Hall, Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory and Tchaikovsky Concert Hall. In concerto engagements, Klinton has worked with The Philharmonia, Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, Svetlanov State Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra. Dinara combines her concert activities with her role as Assistant Piano Professor at the Royal College of Music in London. As a recording artist, Dinara has received widespread critical acclaim for her interpretations. Among many dazzling reviews, her album Liszt: Études d’exécution transcendante, S. 139, released by the German label GENUIN classics, was selected by BBC Music Magazine as Recording of the Month. Dinara’s debut album Music of Chopin and Liszt was made at the age of 16 with an American label DELOS. Her third CD is a part of renowned recording series Chopin. Complete Works on contemporary instruments, released by The Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Poland. This year’s release with PianoClassic is featuring Prokofiev Complete Sonatas. Dinara’s music education started in the age of five in her native Kharkiv, Ukraine. She graduated with highest honours from Moscow Central Music School, where she studied with Valery Piassetski, and the Moscow State P.I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory, where she worked with Eliso Virsaladze. Dinara completed her Master’s degree at the Royal College of Music under the tutelage of Dina Parakhina and became the inaugural recipient of highly prestigious RCM Benjamin Britten fellowship during her Artist Diploma course.. After that, Dinara attended masterclasses at the Lake Como Piano Academy and worked with Boris Petrushansky in Imola Piano Academy.

Dinara Klinton has been selected by London’s Keyboard Trust for their artist development programme The Keyboard Trust celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2021-22, and supports the most gifted young pianists on stages in London, New York, Mexico, Berlin, Rome, Washington, DC, and other music capitals. The Trust has presented more than 250 international pianists, historic-keyboard players, and organists in nearly 1000 concerts worldwide. With such notable musicians as Evgeny Kissin, Alfred Brendel, and the late Claudio Abbado among its trustees, this formula has proved its worth. www.keyboardtrust.org

The concert was introduced by the distinguished Russian pianist Elena Vorotko,co artistic director of the KCT.

https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2020/04/20/dinara-klinton-at-st-marys-2/

Alim Beisembayev a Master at St Mary’s

Thursday 3 June 4.00 pm 

Clementi: Sonata in F sharp minor Op 25 no 5 Piùtosto allegro con espressione-Lento e patetico-Presto

Chopin: 24 Preludes Op 28

Here’s a link to the HD version https://youtu.be/Ao-4d3wKlEI Enjoy !

Masterly playing from Alim Beisembayev.
Chopin 24 Preludes that Fou Ts’ong exclaimed were 24 problems were played today in an unforgettable performance that I have only heard the like from Sokolov.
Listening attentively to the sounds he was producing with a total mastery that was quite overwhelming.From the opening improvisatory prelude where even from the outstart his musicianly anchor in the bass allowed such freedom for the waves of sound that he was producing above.The ‘raindrop’ prelude was a true tone poem in his magical hands.The diabolical B flat minor prelude that follows was played with unbelievable control and passionate involvement.The radiance of the A flat Prelude was like the sun coming out after the passing storm.The gentle penultimate prelude was like water gushing peacefully over a stream- au bord d’une source indeed-but who would have expected a final Allegro appassionata of such overwhelming intensity.The final three great gongs of D resonating as only a great pianist could know how.
Clementi’s F sharp minor sonata was played with a luminosity of sound from the very first notes.The almost Bachian slow movement was played with an aristocratic intensity that was deeply moving and just contrasted with the mellifluous Mendelssohnian outpouring of notes that spun from Alim’s hands with an ease and joie de vivre that was pure joy to behold.

The F sharp minor Sonata is the fifth of ‘Six Sonatas for the Piano Forte; dedicated to Mrs Meyrick … Opera 25’ (entered Stationers’ Hall, 8 June 1790)—is a work where ‘his heart and soul were engaged’ to the full.Classical it maybe but is temperamentally Romantic as Horowitz has shown us in his 1989 landmark recordings of five sonatas whilst in temporary retirement from the concert stage .Clementi was born in Rome in 1752 but in 1766 an English nobleman Sir Peter Beckford was so impressed by the young Clementi’s musical talent that he negotiated with his father to take him to his estate, Stepleton House in Dorset .Beckford agreed to provide quarterly payments to sponsor the boy’s musical education until he reached the age of 21. In return, he was expected to provide musical entertainment.After which he moved to London where audiences were impressed with his playing, thus beginning one of the outstandingly successful concert pianist careers of the period.Touring Europe it was on 12 January 1782 that Mozart reported to his father: “Clementi plays well, as far as execution with the right-hand goes. His greatest strength lies in his passages in 3rds. Apart from that, he has not a kreuzer’s worth of taste or feeling – in short, he is a mere mechanic.” In a subsequent letter, he wrote: “Clementi is a charlatan, like all Italians. He marks a piece presto but plays only allegro.”However Mozart used the opening motif of Clementi’s B-flat major sonata (Op. 24, No. 2) in his overture for The Magic Flute!From 1783 he settled in London as pianist ,conductor and teacher.One of his pupils was John Field who was to be such an influence on Chopin.He entered the publishing business and the manufacturing of pianos,a flourishing business that afforded him an increasingly elegant lifestyle. As an inventor and skilled mechanic, he made important improvements in the construction of the piano, some of which have become standard in instruments to this day.In 1826 he completed his collection of keyboard studies, Gradus ad Parnassum and set off for Paris with the intention of publishing the third volume of the work simultaneously in Paris, London, and Leipzig.He founded the Philharmonic Society in London and eventually retired with his English wife and family to Evesham where he died in 1832 at the age of 80.

There was a luminosity of sound from the very first notes in Alim’s performance with such tender question and answer in the development.Very expressive – as Clementi asks:’piùtosto allegro con espressione’-but played with such style and real understanding.The very delicate ending was a mere indication of the remarkable Lento e Patetico in B minor that was to follow.This almost Bachian lament was played with a sense of colour and inner feeling that was deeply moving .The Presto that followed owes much to Scarlatti and above all Mendelssohn with its brilliance and glittering thirds that sparkled like jewels under jeux perlé playing of such radiance and shape.

Chopin wrote the 24 Preludes between 1835 and 1839, partly at Valldemossa ,where he spent the winter of 1838–39 having fled with George Sand and her children to escape the damp Paris weather.In Majorca, Chopin had a copy of Bach’s 48 and as in each of Bach’s two sets of preludes and fugues Chopin’s Op. 28 set comprises a complete cycle of the major and minor keys, albeit with a different ordering.Each of the 24 Preludes is a little tone poem but together they have an architectural form that had Fou Ts’ong exclaiming that they are 24 problems.Not only for the pure technical difficulty of many of them but for the musicianship needed to make one unified whole of what is undoubtedly the first of the masterpieces that Chopin was to pen in his brief and tormented life.I remember how difficult Vlado Perlemuter found the very first prelude that must sound like a free improvisation but at the same time have an overall architectural shape.Liszt’s transcendental studies start with a similar flourish but the difference with Chopin is that Liszt makes a flamboyant opening gesture whereas with Chopin ,right from the first notes,there is a poetic and passionate drive that takes us into the dark brooding left hand of the second prelude.Perlemuter was to record them for Nimbus and he sat down to try out the piano before recording the next day.He did not know that the microphone was on and was relieved the next day to know that it was this improvised performance that was the one he chose in the final recording!Alim found just this sense of improvisation where the deep bass notes acted as roots firmly planted in the ground that allowed the branches above to sway so naturally in the wind – this is exactly Chopin’s own description of tempo ‘rubato’.A superb sense of balance in the second prelude between the brooding bass and the pleading melodic line.There was such beauty in the final cadential phrase played with such mature sensitive musicianship- what one might call ‘aristocratic’.Often a term used to describe the interpretations of Artur Rubinstein.A feeling that there is all the time to savour the subtle harmonic colours without ever loosing sight of the overall shape and inner propulsion of the music.The fleeting swirls of the left hand in the third were a wistful accompaniment to the wonderfully simple melodic line.A featherlight ending disappearing into the infinite with just two radiant chords to finish.Aristocratic is the only word to describe the beauty of the melodic line in the E minor prelude.Just one page so pregnant with meaning brought to a sumptuous climax before dying to a whisper .The final pianissimo chords were again of quite sublime beauty and I was very impressed that someone so young could bring such meaning to a seemingly simple cadence.The mellifluous meanderings of the fifth had something of the same shape and colour that he had hinted at in the Clementi sonata.It was nice to be reminded of Agosti’s fingerings in my score to find a true left hand legato in the Lento assai that followed.In Alim’s hands the melodic line was deeply felt thanks to his superb sense of balance and architectural shaping.The gently pulsating heartbeats throughout gradually drew their last breath as they vanished into the distance with Chopin’s own indication of pedal and pianissimo so intelligently and movingly interpreted.The little Andantino was lovingly shaped before the passionate outpourings of the eighth prelude.There was a wonderful sense of shape to the melodic line with the flourishing harmonies like quick silver hovering above.The change from A to A sharp in the coda was one of those magical moments that can only happen in public performance as it did so magically today.The Largo was played with sumptuous full sound,the problem with the dotted rhythm resolved convincingly even though to my ears it came as a surprise at the beginning!The jeux perlé so beautifully spun in the tenth was a mere accompaniment to the chordal melodic line as Alim’s intelligence made absolutely clear.The vivace that follows was an outpouring of wondrous sounds achingly short but to be augmented with the same mellifluous sounds as the nineteenth later.This was just a preparation for the astonishing virtuosity of the G sharp minor gallop thrown off with a sense of shape and passionate excitement that only a true master could provide.There was magic in the air with the thirteenth played with a flexibility that was ravishing.The più lento central section was sublime in its stillness and the bell like notes in the coda were pure magic.I have never heard the final cadence played so naturally or beautifully as Alim did today before the rush of wind that blows us into the disarming simplicity of the so called ‘Raindrop’ prelude.Such subtle shaping and colour just added to the somber crescendo in the central episode played so naturally and with the same gradual build up that reminded me of the famous interpretation of Sokolov .The transition of the return of the ‘Raindrop’ melody with its subtle pungent harmonies was heartbreakingly beautiful and the gradual disappearance to the final pianissimo chord made the call to arms of the B flat minor prelude all the more startling.I was at Perlemuter’s masterclass at the Academy in London when during the era of strikes under the Heath government the lights suddenly failed while the old maestro was demonstrating this prelude.It has passed into legend that Perlemuter carried on to the end of this fiendishly difficult prelude giving a note perfect performance oblivious that it was in total darkness!Well we live in different times and strikes are all too rare but the technical perfection and absolute authority that Alim brought to this prelude was quite astonishing with or without lights!The sun suddenly appeared with the A flat prelude played with loving care and beauty.The final A flat gong notes at the end played with the same magic as Ravel’s magic garden a century later.There was operatic drama in the eighteenth played with almost Lisztian aplomb before the technically transcendental difficulty of the beautiful mellifluous nineteenth.Difficulties just did not seem to exist for Alim such was his total mastery and musicianship that carried us from the first to the last of this wonderful work .The C minor prelude used by Busoni and Rachmaninov later as the theme for their variations was played with a full rich sound where one could admire the string quartet texture of the chords arriving so wondrously to the whispered pianissimo and gradual shape of the final cadence.There was a wonderful sense of legato to the Cantabile twenty first prelude before the passionate outpouring of left hand octaves of the twenty second.The radiance of the water splashing so simply in the twenty third was just the calm before the storm.Fearlessly plunging into the final D minor prelude with a sense of excitement and forward propulsion that was breathtaking.Even managing the glissandi type scales arriving so punctually at their destination without having to to alter the driving left hand rhythm.The final three great D’s were played with a fullness of sound that was of terrifying vibrant resonance.

Alim Beisembayev was born in Kazakhstan in 1998 and started playing the piano at the age of 5. He moved to study at the Central Music School in Moscow in September 2008. After two years in Moscow, Alim moved to study at the Purcell School for Young Musicians where he was taught by Tessa Nicholson. Adding to his performing experience, Alim wins several prizes during his time at the Purcell School including the Junior Cliburn International Competition in the US. In February 2016, Alim performed at the Royal Festival Hall with the Purcell School Symphony Orchestra. In September 2016, Alim continued his studies with Tessa Nicholson at the Royal Academy of Music where he was generously supported by a full scholarship. Alim has played many solo and chamber music concerts un the UK, Spain, Kazakhstan, USA, Barbados and Italy. He also won the Jaques Samuel Intercollegiate Competition which led to his Wigmore Hall recital debut in 2018.In September 2020, Alim pursued his post-graduate studies at the Royal College of Music in London under the guidance of Vanessa Latarche and Dmitri Alexeev. He is supported by a generous ABRSM scholarship and an award from the Countess of Munster Trust.

https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2020/06/02/the-bells-of-st-marys-are-ringing-to-the-sounds-of-alim-beisembayev/

Ariel Lanyi flying high at St Mary’s

Tuesday 1 June 4.00 pm 

Mozart: Rondo in D K 485

Debussy: Images Book 2
1. “Cloches à travers les feuilles” (Bells through the leaves)
2. “Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut” (And the moon descends on the temple that was)
3. “Poissons d’or” (Golden fishes)

Scriabin: Sonata no.3 in F sharp minor Op 23

Albéniz: Iberia Book 3
El Albaicín / El Polo / Lavapiés

Some ravishing playing from Ariel who I have always admired in Schubert and Brahms but today the list will get even longer.A Mozart of such simplicity and purity followed by Debussy’s magical second book of Images.Ravishing and haunting as he sought out the sounds that most other pianists do not know exist.His Scriabin I have long admired for its great architectural sweep where the passionate outpourings are gradually brought to a sumptuous conclusion with a musicianship and sense of line that is rare indeed.I have spoken about it before (see below 2/11/20) His Albeniz is new to me and his infectious rhythmic energy and sumptuous palette of colour had me clicking my heels and shouting olé as he brought each of the three postcards to a loving conclusion.

Here is some information about the works he played and two reviews that I wrote just before the pandemic struck so unexpectedly.A truly memorable performance of Brahms 2nd Piano Concerto that Ariel has just recently played in the final of the Rubinstein Competition with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra where he was awarded the best Israeli performance prize.

https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2020/02/28/the-aristocratic-brahms-of-ariel-lanyi/

The Rondo K 485 was written around the same time as the Piano Concertos in A major (K. 488) and C minor (K. 491). In the course of the work, a theme from the third movement of the Piano Quartet in G minor (K. 478) is taken up and further developed. In spite of its considerable length and its musical depth the work was apparently not published during the composer’s lifetime. The dedication, “Pour Mad:selle Charlotte de W…” (the rest is indecipherable) is an enigma. No matter which lady Mozart had in mind, this rondo is today one of his best loved and most played piano works.

Debussy’s second book of Images was composed in 1907.With respect to the first series of Images, Debussy wrote to his publisher, Jacques Durand : “Without false pride, I feel that these three pieces hold together well, and that they will find their place in the literature of the piano … to the left of Schumann, or to the right of Chopin… “Cloches à travers les feuilles” was inspired by the bells in the church steeple in the village of Rahon in Jura France and was the hometown of Louis Laloy, a close friend of Debussy and also his first biographer.”Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut” (And the moon descends on the temple that was) was dedicated to Laloy and evokes images of East Asia suggested by Laloy, an expert in Chinese culture.The piece is evocative of Indonesian gamelan music, which famously influenced Debussy.”Poissons d’or” may have been inspired by an image of a golden fish in Chinese lacquer artwork or embroidery , or on a Japanese print. Other sources suggest it may have been inspired by actual goldfish swimming in a bowl.

Scriabin had been married to a young pianist, Vera Ivanovna Isaakovich, in August 1897. Having given the first performance of his Piano Concerto in Odessa, Scriabin and his wife went to Paris where he started to work on the new sonata .Scriabin is said to have called the finished work “Gothic”, evoking the impression of a ruined castle.Some years later however, he devised a different programme for this sonata entitled “States of the Soul”:First movement, Drammàtico:The soul, free and wild, thrown into the whirlpool of suffering and strife.Second movement, Allegretto:Apparent momentary and illusory respite; tired from suffering the soul wants to forget, wants to sing and flourish, in spite of everything. But the light rhythm, the fragrant harmonies are just a cover through which gleams the restless and languishing soul.Third movement, Andante:A sea of feelings, tender and sorrowful: love, sorrow, vague desires, inexplicable thoughts, illusions of a delicate dream.Finale, Presto con fuoco:From the depth of being rises the fearsome voice of creative man whose victorious song resounds triumphantly. But too weak yet to reach the acme he plunges, temporarily defeated, into the abyss of non-being.

https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2020/02/11/ariel-lanyi-the-return-of-a-star-the-sublime-schubert-of-a-master-musician/

Iberia is a suite composed between 1905 and 1909 .It is made up of four books of three pieces each.It is Albéniz’s best-known work and considered his masterpiece. It was highly praised by Debussy and Messiaen , who said: “Iberia is the wonder for the piano; it is perhaps on the highest place among the more brilliant pieces for the king of instruments”. Stylistically, this suite falls squarely in the school of Impressionism,especially in its musical evocations of Spain.Considered one of the most challenging works for the piano: “There is really nothing in Isaac Albeniz’s Iberia that a good three-handed pianist could not master, given unlimited years of practice and permission to play at half tempo. But there are few pianists thus endowed.”

Ariel Lanyi, born in 1997, began piano lessons with Lea Agmon just before his fifth birthday and made his orchestral debut at the age of 7. Since then, he has given numerous recitals in cities such as London, Paris (including Hôtel des Invalides and Radio France), Rome, Prague, Brussels, and regularly in concerts broadcast live on Israeli radio and television. He has appeared as a soloist with a variety of orchestras in the United Kingdom and Israel, including the Israel Symphony Orchestra and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and has participated in festivals such as the Israel Festival, Ausseer Festsommer, Bosa Antica Festival, Miami Piano Festival, the Ravello Festival, and the Young Prague Festival. As a chamber musician, he has appeared with members (including leading members) of the Prague Philharmonia, the Czech Philharmonic, the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, and the Israel Philharmonic, among others. In 2020, Ariel will appear in the Marlboro Festival. Ariel was awarded first prize at the 2017 Dudley International Piano Competition following a performance of Mozart’s Concerto in C minor, K. 491 in the final round, and in 2018, he was awarded the first prize in the Grand Prix Animato in Paris.In 2012, Ariel released Romantic Profiles on LYTE records, a recital album featuring Schumann’s Carnival Scenes from Vienna, Liszt’s Fantasy and Fugue on the theme B-A-C-H, Brahms’ Fantasies Op. 116, and Janacek’s Piano Sonata I.X.1905. Future projects include a recording for Linn Records. Ariel studied at the High School and Conservatory of the Jerusalem Academy of Music, in the piano class of Yuval Cohen. He also studied violin and composition, and was concertmaster of the High School and Conservatory Orchestra. He has also received extensive tuition from eminent artists such as Leon Fleisher, Robert Levin, Murray Perahia, Imogen Cooper, Leif Ove Andsnes, Steven Osborne, and the late Ivan Moravec. Currently, he studies as a full scholarship student at the Royal Academy of Music in London with Hamish Milne and Ian Fountain. Ariel is a recipient of the Munster Trust Mark James Star Award and the Senior Award of the Hattori Foundation.

https://www.facebook.com/notes/christopher-axworthy/ariel-lanyi-at-st-marys/10155940468672309/