Dominic Doutney’s intelligence and clarity at St Mary’s

Tuesday 6 July 4.00 pm 

Beethoven: Sonata in C minor Op 111

Liszt: Transcendental Etude no 12 ‘Chasse-Neige’

Rachmaninov: Prelude Op 32 no 13 in D flat

Michael Zev Gordon: ‘A tango there was’ (from ‘On Memory’)

Scriabin: Sonata no 4 in F sharp Op 30

Here is the link to the HD file .

Some impressive playing of great clarity and weight from the very opening of Beethoven’s last thoughts on the piano sonata.Scrupulous attention to detail and extraordinary technical command allowed Beethoven’s words to speak on their own without any personal intervention.The end of the first movement led so naturally into the Arietta and variations played with string quartet intensity with some very beautiful counterpoints in evidence in the second variation before the explosion of the l’istesso tempo.His great technical control and musicianship allowed this to be the natural climax before the final variation with fragments floating magically on a vibration of murmured sounds with its gradual passionate build up and the final disintegration of celestial sounds which could though have had a more improvisatory feel to it.Even Beethoven was searching in un chartered territory that only he could hear in his private ear and a feeling of discovery and mystery are part of this search.Something of the magic was missing but his unrelenting forward movement and clarity gave great weight and authority to this great monument that I am sure he would not normally programme as an opener.

It was in Chasse Neige that Dominic revealed his sense of colour and passionate involvement that he had denied himself in Beethoven.The beautiful opening melody led to a passionate outpouring of ravishing sounds played with remarkable technical control and sense of architectural shape.

It was the same clarity and passion that he brought to the last of Rachmaninov’s preludes op.32.A sense of nobility contrasting with extraordinary flights of virtuosity culminating in the glorious outpouring of triumphant sounds of grandeur and nobility.

The piece by Zev Gordon reminded me very much of the modern work that Cherkassky would add to his standard repertoire every year.I well remember the glee and the twinkle in his eye as he grappled with Copland’s El salon Mexico much as Dominic did today.Some very complicated cross rhythms played with amazing agility and rhythmic impetus contrasting with long held pedal notes.The final slam of the door was played by Dominic with the same mischievous joy that I remember brought the house down for Cherkassky.

The beautiful Scriabin fourth sonata was given a superb performance where Dominic’s sense of balance was allied to his scintillating clarity even in the most capricious passages but all starting from the gentle opening star burning so brightly at the end amid passion and ferocity as ecstasy has been reached.Some very fine playing from a true musician and master pianist.

Dominic Doutney is a London-based pianist, studying for his Artist Diploma at the Royal College of Music in London, with professors Ian Jones, Dmitri Alexeev and Sofya Gulyak. He is the current recipient of the prestigious Fishmongers’ Company Beckwith Scholarship. Dominic is the 2020 winner of the ROSL Award for Keyboard. In summer 2019, Dominic studied at the Aspen Festival and School in Colorado, on a Polonsky Foundation Fellowship, having previously taken part in the piano masterclass programme at the Banff Centre in Canada (thanks to the English-Speaking Union’s Yehudi Menuhin scholarship). Dominic is a former joint winner of the EPTA UK Piano Competition and winner of the Royal College of Music’s Teresa Carreño (2013) and Constance Poupard (2014) prizes. In 2017, Dominic was placed third in the Joan Chissell Schumann Prize, and in 2016, second at the Isidor Bajic Memorial Competition (category B). Dominic is becoming a seasoned recitalist and concerto soloist. In October last year he performed Schumann’s Piano Concerto in St John’s Smith Square with the Young Musician’s Symphony Orchestra and Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5 in November with the Dorset Chamber Orchestra. In June the previous year he performed Brahms Piano Concerto no. 1 with the Leipziger-symphonieorchester in the Mendelssohn-Saal at the Leipzig Gewandhaus, to critical acclaim. Other concerto performances have included Stravinsky’s Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments (with Martyn Brabbins and the Royal College of Music symphony orchestra), Brahms’ Piano Concerto no. 2, Rachmaninov’s Piano Concertos nos. 2 & 3, Grieg’s Piano Concerto, and Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto no. 1. Solo appearances have included recitals at the prestigious Beaumaris and Beaujolais music festivals (France), the Poros Piano Festival (Greece), the Banff Centre (Alberta, Canada), and in Moscow (at the invitation of the Spivakov Foundation). Closer to home, Dominic has performed at the Bolivar Hall, Cadogan Hall, Wigmore Hall, St Martin-in-the-Fields, the Elgar Room (at the Royal Albert Hall) and at 22 Mansfield Street (for the Nicholas Boas Foundation).
Dominic has made appearances on BBC Radio 3 (performing Chopin and discussing the art of virtuosity) and on CNBC (discussing the experience of participating in a masterclass with Lang Lang). Dominic is also a keen jazz pianist and arranger. Outside of the piano, Dominic’s interests include theatre, art and literature, and he is a fan of Harlequins rugby club.


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