Ivan Donchev in Rome – tradition,elegance and scholarship combine to seduce

A recital by Ivan Donchev tonight in the Cancelleria in Rome.
Chopin and Scriabin showed his stylish elegance and strong personality that carved a clear line of ravishing sounds as he braved the high wire between tradition and scholarship just as his mentor Aldo Ciccolini had shown us for so many years.


Nowhere was it more evident than in the Chopin minute waltz thrown off with such elegant ease even the slight hesitation at the end of the first phrase was worthy of Ciccolini or even Rubinstein in its twin op 64 n 2.
Ivan allowed himself such freedom at the end that Ciccolini would have approved of but Rubinstein might have lifted an eye brow as it tended more to the old tradition of De Pachmann than the scrupulous adherence to the score.


The nocturne in D flat op 27 was played with such beauty and aristocratic control that one could forgive his rather slow tempo.Such was his sense of balance that there was a radiance to the melodic line that was played with disarming simplicity with great sentiment but never sentimental.It was a vision of beauty rather than Chopin’s miniature tone poem that is every bit as expressive as the Ballades but in a much shorter space.
In the nocturnes Chopin manages to say so much in such a short span as he does in the mazurkas.I did not entirely share his view of this nocturne but the magic spell he cast was of a great artist convinced as he was convincing.

The Cancelleria between Piazza Navona and Campo dei Fiori in the heart of Rome


Opening with the third scherzo Ivan immediately demonstrated his supremity as a stylist.A performance of such power and ravishing beauty but also an awareness of the overall architectural shape that I have rarely heard in the concert hall.The great chorale melody was illuminated by the streams of golden sounds that descended from on high where so often in lesser hands the delicate filigree accompaniment interrupt rather than illuminate the overall musical line.An overpoweringly convincing performance.There was room for freedom and playing of such poignancy too but never disturbing the overall architectural line of such aristocratic nobility.


I was not so convinced by the first movement of the B flat minor sonata that I found rather too dramatic and tempestuous.Surely the doppio movimento is the same whispered wind that pervades the extraordinary last movement as it pervades the whole of this masterpiece.His much less dramatic return to the opening flourish seemed more in tune with the atmosphere than his rather overstated majestic beginning.It is hinted at in the lightness of the scherzo too that I found rather too serious in Ivan’s hands.Of course the lyrical second subject of the first movement or the central episode of the scherzo was played with great beauty and a freedom of aristocratic good taste.There were some rather strange counterpoints in the Funeral March and even more so at the end of the last movement but played with such conviction that made it easily acceptable as Ivan’s personal musicianly vision.The trio of the Funeral March was played with unusually robust
tone that I found very convincing in the way it created a whole rather than fragmented picture of this desolate scene.The hands ‘conversing together’ in the last movement as they create a perpetuum mobile of sounds that in Chopin’s time must have seemed quite revolutionary.Ivan tried to find some melodic line too but was a little too explicit for a movement of whispered suggested sounds of quite extraordinary genius.

Of course Scriabin found the ideal interpreter in Ivan.Ravishing sounds and a kaleidoscopic sense of colour allied to technical prowess and passionate involvement .
Three studies played with sumptuous sounds and astonishing technical command.The extraordinary difficulties just disappeared as we were led through this world of wondrous sounds where the musical line was always so clear amidst the enormous technical difficulties that we were never openly made aware of.
Scriabin’s Fantasie was played with demonic streams of golden sounds as we reached the sumptuous ecstasy of the ‘star’ shining with such passion and beauty in Ivan’s masterly hands.


The beauty and stillness of the Prelude in B minor by Bach- Siloti was a moving tribute that Ivan wanted to share with us in this particularly disturbing moment that we are sharing with a world frustrated by its impotence in the face of such prepotence!

The Great Gate of Kiev
The Cancelleria in the centre of Rome
Ivan Donchev after the concert

https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2021/07/11/ivan-donchev-diabelli-reigns-in-velletri-while-italy-awaits-the-vital-goal/

https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2020/11/23/ivan-donchev-the-grand-tour-with-beethoven-in-velletri/

https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2019/11/25/the-hills-of-rome-are-ringing-to-the-sound-of-music-donchev-in-velletri-and-taddei-ciammarughi-in-ariccia/

Evelyne Berezovsky seduction in Rome

Evie seduces Rome with a programme of scintillating Mozart,the shimmering demonic ecstasy of Scriabin and the frenzied indecent ravishment of Ravel’s La Valse.
But it was the simple beauty of Grieg that charmed and seduced as only a great artist could do.
The Arietta played with disarming simplicity and a Butterfly of a fleeting jeux perle of another age.

Here is a link to my full review with a live recording of the same programme she played in London a few months ago https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2021/09/20/evelyne-berezovsky-at-st-marys-turbulence-and-demons-of-a-great-artist/


All this to help her great friend Alex Ullman who at the last minute could not be in Rome and so sent Evie to ravish and seduce us with love indeed!

Valerio Vicari with Evie

Thanks to Valerio Vicari and Roma 3 for enticing such extraordinary artists to the Eternal City where they truly belong.

After concert festivities Da Michele Pizzeria with Valerio and Evie
William Grant Naboré director of the International Piano Academy Lake Como – President Martha Argerich at the Danish Academy last night

https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2020/12/04/evelyne-berezovsky-at-st-marys-a-new-golden-age-takes-us-by-storm/

Cristian Sandrin a message of Hope and Peace in Florence the cradle of our culture

Whilst Evelyne Beresovsky was seducing us in Rome https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2022/02/25/evelyne-berezovsky-seduction-in-rome/. Cristian Sandrin was holding the fort in Florence with his superb Beethoven Trilogy.His playing was recently compared to Lipatti and Haskill as Florence would have discovered in the Harold Acton Library yesterday thanks to Simon Gammell and his Music at the British series.

Here is the review I wrote of the same performance a few weeks ago in London there is also a link to the recording of that performance https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2022/02/03/cristian-sandrin-the-beethoven-trilogy-birth-of-a-great-artist/

Cristian Sandrin with Simon Gammell OBE


All this thanks to Noretta Conci-Leech whose 91st birthday was celebrated this week and who thanks together with her beloved husband John Leech have created a worldwide circuit of friends and colleagues offering concerts to these amazing young talents who have dedicated their youth to art ( whatever next!!)and just crave an audience to share their joy of music with.

Noretta Conci at home in London with her sister on a surprise visit for her 91st birthday


Rome and Florence were certainly blessed last night.
‘Biaciato dal sole’ one might say whilst bombs were flying elsewhere.
A message of Hope and Peace launched by a Russian and Romanian on Italian soil promoted by the Keyboard Charitable Trust of London.
Music has no barriers as the beautiful messages sent to me during the concert in Florence prove.


The composer/ piano technician in Florence so moved by the message hidden in the music for all those that have the ‘anima’ to feel it sent me these beautiful words.

Florence speaking to the world last night as Ghandi said ‘an eye for an eye if it does not stop we will have a world full of blind people ‘


‘La musica metafisica di Beethoven in queste sonate, è l’amore intenso che ama la musica ed i musicisti,stando insieme a loro per la vita artistica ed intima. Come una fedele compagna, ama con pazienza fino alla sublimazione del sentimento. È giovane nella gioventù, matura nella maturità, anziana nella stagione delle foglie, che un soave vento toglie dai rami dei nostri alberi guerrieri. Ho ascoltato in meditazione la prova del giovane Cristian che ora è in concerto. Il suo animo svela il sentimento di Beethoven. La melode 109,110,111,è nella vis interpretativa di Cristian e sta volando verso chi ascolta.

The beautiful Harold Acton Library


Sentire questa musica di sentimento e preghiera divina, accarezza il cuore e lo protegge dalla paura, dallo sgomento e dal profondo dolore per la maledetta guerra cominciata. Intesa l’arietta che apre un canto corale e melodico con sviluppo di armonie struggenti che nascono una nella vita dell’altra….una perpetua narrazione si muove in una potente rapsodia che tutto cambia nella speranza di ritornare in se stessa’ Michele Padovano
Impossible to translate such poetry from a Florentine in the city that is the cradle of our culture.

I can only add the last words my wife uttered on stage struck down by an aneurism whilst playing Hecuba in her own theatre next to S.Peters Square.How prophetic they are!

Alessandro De Luca aesthetic mastery in Viterbo

http://tiny.cc/XVII_stag_concertistica

Fascinating programme in Viterbo for the series of Prof Franco Carlo Ricci .


The distinguished pianist Alessandro De Luca with an eclectic programme of music from the first half of the 20th century .Twelve Preludes by the almost unknown Vittorio Rieti ( a vast volume written by Prof Ricci outlines his extraordinary life – his works were often commissioned and played by the duo Gold and Fitzdale) through Poulenc Five improvisations and Humoresque and Stravinsky Tango,Circus Polka and the Piano rag music (commissioned by Artur Rubinstein who then refused to play it as he refused to accept Stravinsky’s insistence that the piano was only a percussion instrument.Later though Stravinsky dedicated to him the piano version of Petrushka).


Gershwin’s own arrangements of two of his most popular songs: ‘The Man I love’ and ‘I got rhythm’ brought this extraordinarily interesting programme to a scintillating conclusion.
No score or I pad to be seen from a master pianist who has obviously lived with and loved these very rarely heard works for a lifetime.

Vittorio Rieti (January 28, 1898 – February 19, 1994) was born in Alexandria in Egypt but moved to Milan to study economics. He subsequently studied in Rome under Respighi and Casella, and lived there until 1940.In 1925, he temporarily moved to Paris and composed music for Balanchine’s ballet for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes : Barabau.He emigrated to the United States in 1940, becoming a naturalized American citizen on the 1st of June 1944. He taught at the Peabody Conservatory 1948–49), Chicago Musical College (1950–54), Queens College, New York (1958–60), and New York College ofMusic (1960–64). He died in New York on 19 February 1994.

https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwjOm9Cnio72AhWCilwKHbyQBF4QFnoECAgQAQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bruceduffie.com%2Frieti.html&usg=AOvVaw01fLj65-JLvPDrG40yW6Xy

The Year of the Tiger with Love Concert Yuanfan Yang and Shirley Wu at the NLC

An evening of music and poetry to celebrate not only the last day of the New Year Festivities but also the Lantern Festival and above all Valentine’s Day.What better way to begin than with two very fine pianists opening the evening with Elgar’s Salut d’Amour particularly suited to the noble surroundings of the National Liberal Club –

Salut d’Amour open on the NLC ‘s magnificent Steinway concert grand

Shirley Wu went on to play Liszt’s famous Liebestraum and the Sonata in D minor K 213 by Scarlatti known as ‘The Lover’.Beautifully played and presented by this young Canadian pianist about to travel back to Canada taking with her a Master degree from the Royal College of Music.

Shirley Wu

A beautifully atmospheric work ‘Dui Hua’ by An -Lun Huang was played with a wonderful sense of style and colour and her charming introduction to this evening dedicated to love was very touching.

Yuanfan Yang

Yuanfan Yang played the opening movement of Mozart Sonata in C K 330 with remarkable clarity and superb sense of style.The four preludes op 28 by Chopin were played with the same beauty and technical mastery that was so memorable recently from a performance he gave on his Italian tour on Ischia. https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2021/09/06/yuanfan-yang-in-paradise/.

Yuanfan asking for any suggestions for his improvisations

Of course Yuanfan then astounded everyone with his improvisations.Asking the audience for a melody they would like him to elaborate on and to also tell him what style they would like him to play in! ‘The man I love’ was heard to come from the back in the style of Beethoven.Followed by a rather eclectic request of ‘Air on a G string’ in the style of John Rutter.But it was ‘Three blind mice’ combined with ‘Danny Boy’ in the style of Strauss and Tchaikowsky that brought the house down and an ovation for this remarkably talented young man.

Seated at the piano again with Shirley Wu they played together a beautiful rendition of Jasmine Flower/Mo Li Hua arranged by Xiaoping Luo that for us from the west is the tune that Puccini uses in his opera Turandot.Yuanfan Yang was then asked to improvise on Jasmine Flower and play it in a rousing ending that included Swan Lake by Tchaikowsky too!

A beautiful poem about love read by Marianna Cherry

Two beautiful love poems too read by friends of our indomitable hostess Yisha Xue added a magic touch to a memorable evening.

James Brown

What more beautiful words could there be than these.Beautifully read by James Brown the distinguished friend of Yisha Xue:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.’ from I wandered lonely as a cloud ‘ by William Wordsworth

Shirley Wu – Yisha Xue – Yuanfan Yang
Friends of Yisha Xue celebrating the Year of the Tiger

Leslie Howard Masterclass at the R.C.M Scholarship and Mastery shared

Very distinguished audience for Leslie Howard’s stimulating Masterclass at the RCM. Many students of Ilya Kondratiev present and making copious notes with their ‘Apple’pencils.


Vitaly Pisarenko,Sasha Grynyuk,Ilya Kondratiev and Leslie Howard himself all happy to see their ninety year old ‘piano mummy ‘ listening carefully to everything that was said and played.

Noretta Conci-Leech founder of the Keyboard Charitable Trust of which Leslie is one of the founding trustees and artistic director,she has a lot to answer for!

Noretta Conci-Leech with Sasha Grynyuk


Leslie beguiling his predominantly Chinese audience with his down to earth way of expressing his extraordinary scholarship and mastery of the piano.To hear him describe Glinka’s magical ‘The lark’ as a tree with tinsel but a tree with solid roots was so refreshingly simple and surely recalls Chopin’s own description of that elusive much abused word ‘rubato’.
Anton Rubinstein described the pedal as the soul of the piano as Leslie knows well having made a premiere recording of his four sonatas adding even more neglected masterpieces to the catalogue together of course with his 100 cd set of the works of Liszt.
And it was the pedal and scrupulous attention to the original intentions of the composer that was the valuable message we were reminded of today.


Phoebe Liu played a scintillating Liszt Tarantella -no mean feat at 10 am!


And Antonio Morabito played six studies op 25 by Chopin with the others tucked up his sleeve for another occasion.As Leslie said you need courage to play this pivotal work in front of your colleagues.Rising to the occasion this young man with a degree in philosophy showed just what it means to dedicate yourself not only to art.


Maestro Winnicki played The Lark by Glinka and Rachmaninov’s rousing Etude Tableau op 39 n 9. And rousing it was too on this very bright Fazioli in one of the nicest halls in London with our wonderful hostess Vanessa Latarche.

Ever vigilant as she brings students worldwide to the Royal College to be filled with the scholarly musicianship and technical expertise of which we had a glowing example this morning

https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2020/10/26/exploring-liszt-with-leslie-howard/

Louis-Victor Bak at St James’s Piccadilly

Some very musicianly playing from this young French pianist that I was able to listen to thanks again to the very fine streaming from St James’s Piccadilly.Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in F sharp book 1 was played with such flowing mellifluous sounds of an almost pastoral nature.Delicate ornamentation just added to the beauty and overall shape.The same atmosphere carried over into the three part fugue that was played with a clarity but also a sense of continuous flowing movement where even the entry of the voices did not disturb the gentle nature of this beautiful fugue.

It was the same atmosphere that he brought to the Sonata op 90 by Beethoven but of course interrupted by Beethoven’s rumbustuous character in the first movement.Great contrasts and scrupulous attention to detail but even here there was a sense of of overall architectural shape and forward movement.This the most Schubertian of Beethoven’s sonatas where the last movement is a continuous outpouring of melodic invention that Louis- Victor Bak played with great sensitivity never allowing the rhythmic pulse to vary. The melodic line always allowed to breathe though in such a refreshing natural way.I am not sure I would have changed the tempo just before the final return of the main theme but it led to a coda of disarming simplicity and beauty.

Thierry Escaich is a composer organist and improviser born in 1965 and is a unique figure in contemporary music and one of the most important French composers of his generation. The three elements of Escaich’s artistry are inseparable, allowing him to express himself as a performer, creator and collaborator in a wide range of settings.Jeux de doubles was written in 2001 and is a virtuoso piece in various episodes from the magical sounds and long held pedals of the opening to the ostinato bass over which toccata like chords are played with great virtuosity over the entire keyboard leading to ever more exciting and exacting figurations.It was a piece that showed off all the extraordinary facets of this young pianists technical and musical mastery.

The three pieces that make up Debussy’s first book of Images were played with a kaleidoscopic sense of colour but also great romantic fervour in Reflets dans l’eau dissolving into a mere murmur of such magical sounds.Hommage à Rameau was played in an almost improvised way such was the freedom and magic that he managed to convey in this most aristocratic of the six images.Movements was played with startling changes of colour in which the continual forward movement was never interrupted but sumptuous colours appeared like magic out of the mist that he had created with great technical skill of precision and delicacy.The ending was just allowed to diminish to a mere distant cloud but never for one moment disturbing the continual urgency and all embracing mist that he had created.

Liszt’s transcendental study in F minor was played with great sensitivity and passion.One of the most subtle of the 12 Transcendental studies for its gentle opening working itself up into passionate outbursts of romantic fervour.A coda of such excitement too was played with great technical assurance and like all the works he played a musical intelligence and sensitivity allied to a technical command that brought everything he played vividly to life.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=tTEcrMecnxo&feature=share

Shunta Morimoto a star shining brightly at St Mary’s – the UK debut of a Master

Sunday 20 February 3.00 pm

Shunta Morimoto. https://youtube.com/watch?v=OChU8GpjN2U&feature=share


Beethoven: Piano sonata in E flat Op 27 no 1
Andante- Allegro / Allegro / Adagio / Allegro


Some quite extraordinary playing from a young master.
From the whispered opening of Beethoven’s op.27 n.1 ,the much neglected twin of the so called ‘Moonlight’Sonata,that was transformed into astonishing sudden changes of character from the rumbustuous to the soul searching with a microscopic attention to the composers indications.A rhythmic drive that swept all before it.Here was the real blue print of Beethovens rapid changes of mood and impatient soul searching.
The Adagio had such stillness and subtle colouring dissolving in a cadenza of pure magic and an Allegro vivace of the same quite extraordinary drive that I have only known from Serkin’s searing performance many years ago in London.Such energy combined with control and attention to detail that would seem impossible to maintain in lesser hands.The magical return of the Adagio ,a stroke of true genius,but then the mad impatient drive to the final slam of the door.A tour de force of transcendental playing and a true understanding of the character of Beethoven as indicated in minute detail in the score.

Chopin: Scherzo no 2 in B flat minor Op 31


Even more astonishing was to listen to Chopin’s much abused second scherzo as if listening to a completely new work.Of course ‘ sotto voce’ is much more than just ‘ piano’ and what a contrast it created with the heroic chordal interruptions.A true Orpheus in Hades so often smoothed over with too much pedal and lack of attention to Chopin’s scrupulous pedal indications.Anton Rubinstein said that the pedal was the soul of the piano but I think soul in this context means the composer indicating to us via the pedal indications the true architectural contour of colour and shape.There were so many things revealed in this performance that it was as though I had never heard it before with every phrase revealed in its naked simplicity and sheer beauty.Sumptuous sound and astonishing technical mastery .The subdued beauty of the sostenuto transformed into a golden web of magical sounds from which Shuntas magic eye could point to a subtle bass counterpoint with such good taste.The gradual build up to the climax was quite breathtaking,the astonishing downward scale leading into the aristocratic explosion and inevitable heroic climax and the gradual dissolving to the return of the ever mysterious ‘ sotto voce’.This time with the long held second note becoming ever more menacing.The excitement of the coda was all the more astonishing for its controlled frenzy with such subtle colouring that never allowed the texture to harden or be muddied.

Faure: Nocturne in D flat Op 63


Faure 6th nocturne was played with a maturity way beyond his barely seventeen years.Such subtle sounds and refined rubato where the deeply moving melodic line had an inner meaning,each note shaped and caressed with loving care without any external distortion or rhetoric.Technical feats of fleeting jeux perle sounds in diminuendo or the crystal clear unpedalled flight of imaginary birds on which floated a radiant melodic line passed to the listener unnoticed .Art that conceals art indeed from an artist dedicating his superlative technical command not to self exultation which would be understandable for such a talented teenager.Here was an artist ready to sacrifice his own applause in a demonstration of modesty and humility as he searches for the true meaning that lies hidden in the score.Hats off to William Nabore who insists that after Rachmaninov 3 and a great following in Japan since his first public performances from the age of ten he must now concentrate on delving deep in the scores of great masterworks rather than seeking out short lasting adulation as a child prodigy.
The fluidity of Shuntas movements too were so natural and just outlined the sounds that he could conjure from an instrument that we have heard many pianist play.Today this good well used Yamaha was made to sound like the most magnificent concert piano that one could imagine.

Franck: Prelude, Chorale et Fugue

Cesar Franck showed off every facet of his quite considerable artistry.A very difficult work that can so easily become episodic instead of a unified whole leading like Beethoven’s op 110 to the final exultation in the final fugue.
From the ethereal opening and it’s dramatic declarations to the extraordinary chorale spread over the entire keyboard where every chord had not only an outer shape but an inner radiance that finally becomes of an unbearable intensity before the simple statement of the fugue.The reappearance of the opening motif in the middle of the fugue is a master stroke and one of those magic velvet moments that can take ones breath away as it did in Shunta’s sensitive hands. The build up of the fugue and combination of all the melodic strands was masterly with Shunta’s sense of passionate control and sense of ecstasy ( the same ‘star’as in much of Scriabin).The animal energy and sumptuous full sound in the final coda was as overwhelming for us as it was for him.Je joue,je sens,je transmet, indeed.


It was in the encore that Shunta showed his aristocratic sense of style and sensitivity to sound as he translated Chopin’s pedal indications into magical sounds of ravishing beauty.
Like Pollini looking carefully into the score and the composers indications rather than relying on tradition and it gave a refreshing radiance and new life to a much loved classic of the romantic repertoire.Welcome to the UK at the start of a glorious career for many years to come.

Shunta with Dr Mather the deus ex machina of St Mary’s the Mecca for young pianists where he was invited to make his UK debut.

Shunta Morimoto was born in Kyoto, Japan in December 2004. From an early age he showed great talent for the piano. At the age of 12, in 2017, he won the prestigious First Prize and the “Fukuda Scholarship Award” by the Piano Teachers Association of Japan, one of the most important prizes for a young musician. This allowed him to study with some of the most important teaching pianists in the world. He took part in the Van Cliburn Junior competition in Dallas, Texas at age 14 in May 2019 with exceptional public success. His performances have gone viral on the Internet and have earned him a large following of fans, critics, musicians all over the world. Since then he has performed in concert with leading musicians and symphony orchestra in Japan and abroad. In September 2020, he won the Second Prize in the “Piano Teachers Association of Japan” competition, one of the most important competitions in Japan. Following this victory he played Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto in with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra.In the same year he was invited to the International music festival ARSONORE in Graz to perform the sextet for piano and strings by Mendelssohn Bartholdy with members of the Hagen quartet.In 2021 he played several concerts in Tokyo playing Schumann’s concerto for piano and orchestra in A minor with Tacticart orchestra and Franck’s piano quintet and the second sonata for violin and piano by Brahms. In November 2021, he had recital in the historic hall of the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome. He currently studies with Maestro William Grant Naboré as a special student of the International Piano Academy Lake Como and studies piano accompaniment in the class of Maestro Giovanni Velluti at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome.

https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2022/01/17/shunta-morimoto-in-viterbo-refined-sensibility-and-artistry-of-a-true-virtuoso/

https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2021/11/23/shunta-morimoto-takes-rome-by-storm/

Ke Ma at St Mary’s a seduction of luminosity and musicianship

Tuesday 15 February 3.00 pm

Mozart: Piano sonata in A minor K310
Allegro / Andante / Presto

Debussy: Clair de Lune and Passepied from Suite Bergamasque


Beethoven: Piano sonata in C minor Op 111
Maestoso-Allegro / Arietta

Luminosity and musicianship went hand in hand today as Ke Ma’s limpet like fingers delved deeply into each key extracting sounds of gold on her musicianly journey with Mozart,Debussy and Beethoven.
Reminiscent of the all too often overlooked Gina Bachauer who could center each note with compelling authority and beauty as her superb sense of style and musicianship allowed a journey of indisputable nobility and directness.
A Mozart one of only two sonata in the minor key.The A minor K 310 written at the time of his mothers death was given a performance of a richness of sound of flowing beauty of almost operatic proportions.The development could have been almost improvised in its controlled freedom of expression.The Andante was indeed ‘cantabile con espressione’ beautifully phrased.The dark waters of the middle episode were played with controlled drama before the return to the beautiful opening.One of Mozart’s most poignant utterings and a wonderful tribute to his mother
The whispered gasps of the Presto were played with absolute clarity and rhythmic energy.The magic change to the major key never upset the unrelenting forward movement but just covered it in gold dust as only Mozart or indeed Schubert could do.


Claire de lune was very slow but with such a subtle sense of balance and clarity that there was magic in the air as she just touched the bass notes which allowed the chords to vibrate on high before the etherial final glimpse of this beautiful landscape.
Passapied was played with driving energy of jeux perlé reams of notes that gave such sofistication to such a simple popular melodic line.


Beethoven’s last Sonata op 111 the second time we have heard this in Perivale this week (Cristian Sandrin played the trilogy last week https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2022/02/03/cristian-sandrin-the-beethoven-trilogy-birth-of-a-great-artist/).It was given by Ke Ma today a performance of aristocratic nobility and simplicity.
The velvet radiance of her sound allowed us to follow the great architectural lines with directness and simplicity.Her intellectual understanding and superb musicianship took us on a journey from the nobility of the opening to the turbulence and anguished radiance of the recitativi on to the sublime beauty at the end of the Arietta.
Rarely have I heard the wonderland of sounds that Beethoven creates played with such beauty and simplicity.Trills and shared melodic notes combined in a knotty twine of transcendental difficulty but in Ke Ma’s hands shone through with a simplicity and radiance that was obviously the magic world that only Beethoven could contemplate in his private world and miraculously bequeathed to us few mortals that can find the key to his private paradise.


As it was afternoon and a pretty dismal one at that Ke Ma decided she would let her hair down and treat us to her own arrangement of a pop song.Scintillating jazz sounds rocketed around the little church in an extraordinary change of key for such a serious young artist.
From the sublime to the ridiculous as she brought the house down receiving a well deserved ovation for her brilliant audacity and astonishing virtuosity

Born in 1994 in China, Ke studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London, graduating with a Masters with distinction (DipRAM) in 2017. She is currently pursuing her Doctoral study at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She has won top prizes at international competitions including 1st Prize at the 2016 Concours International de la vie de Maisons-Laffitte and Karoly Mocsari Special Prize (France), 1st Prize at the 2014 Shenzhen Competition (China) and 3rd Prize at the 2012 Ettlingen Competition (Germany. In 2017 Ke made her debut at Wigmore Hall under the auspices of the Kirckman Concert Society. She has given concerts across the UK, in France, Germany, Poland, the US and Canada. Recent engagements include recitals at the Purcell Room, Kings Place, the Saintonge Festival, Maison Laffitte and Salle Molière Lyon in France and the Chopin Festival at the Fisher Center in Bard College, New York.A committed chamber musician, Ke has undertaken a Tunnell Trust Award tour of Scotland, given a recital at Wigmore Hall and recorded music by Vieuxtemps for Champs Hill Records with violist Timothy Ridout. She has collaborated with the Cuarteto Casals at Santander International Piano Competition. Last summer Ke made her first appearance in Winchester Festival this summer. Ke is grateful for support from the Ian Fleming Award from Help Musicians UK; prizes from the Worshipful Company of Musicians, the Maisie Lewis Young Artist Fund and the Prince’s Award. She recently performed the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1 under the baton of Adrian Leaper at the Barbican Hall, as one of the finalists at the Gold Medal competition at Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2020/11/18/ke-ma-at-s-marys-beauty-and-perfection/

https://youtube.com/watch?v=HBHT7d6wL0Q&feature=share

Giovanni Bertolazzi in London

Giovanni Bertolazzi in London.A live recording from Steinway Hall to be streamed by the Keyboard Trust.
A scintillating Scarlatti,a monumental Liszt Sonata in B minor and a truly astonishing Rachmaninov 2nd Sonata, from the recent top prize winner at Liszt / Budapest Competition and one of the finest pianists of his generation https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2020/10/25/giovanni-bertolazzi-a-star-shining-brightly-at-the-presidents-palace-rome/

With Peter Frankl
At home with Noretta Conci Leech
John and Noretta at home
Peter and Annie Frankl
Alberto Portugheis
Chester Square Mews
Leslie Howard
Jean Efflem Bavouzet

https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2022/01/17/giovanni-bertolazzi-in-rome-liszt-is-alive-and-well-at-teatro-di-villa-torlonia/

https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2020/10/25/giovanni-bertolazzi-a-star-shining-brightly-at-the-presidents-palace-rome/