Ignas Maknickas at St James’s Piccadilly a great artist in the making


Some remarkable playing from Ignas Maknickas at St James’s Piccadilly that thanks to their superb streaming and still very fine Fazioli piano I was able to admire every facets of his great natural talent .
A grandiose Bach Chaconne with such sumptuous sounds not only of richness but also of golden sweetness never forsaking the monumental architectural shape that Bach had so miraculously woven on a single violin.
Here in Busoni’s extraordinary reworking it is reborn for the solo piano with the same grandeur as the original.
Brahms too made a magnificent transcription for the left hand alone giving it the same transcendental difficulty as the original conception.But when played with the virtuosity and richness of sound as today it becomes more than a transcription but a highly original work as if born for the solo piano.
I remember as a student being bowled over by the recording of Michelangeli and locking myself away for a week to learn it before playing it to my teacher Sidney Harrison.He could not believe what progress this schoolboy had made over night.
It was the piece that earnt me a scholarship to study with him at the Royal Academy.
Can it just be coincidence that this concert is promoted by my old Alma Mater where Ignas is a master student?!

His Mozart too showed off his natural musicality and beautiful relaxed flexibility never taking away the driving rhythmic energy but allowing the characters in this piece of pure operatic inspiration to enter and exit with the same beauty and exhilaration as any opera singer.
There was subtle beauty in the slow movement with a ravishingly beautiful sound and such subtle embellishments that made these jewels sparkle even more brightly.The last movement sprang out of his fingers like a ‘jack in the box’ and Mozarts genial surprise ending caught even his audience unawares.
Pagodes from Debussy’s Estampes was played with a kaleidoscopic sense of sound,like a prism that on every turn shone rays of magic.
There was such delicacy in the gentle childrens song that Debussy quotes with swirling spirals of golden sounds that drifted into a visionary cloud that took us to the sublime opening of Chopin’s great masterpiece.

The fourth ballade one of the most miraculous creations even for Chopin was played with an aristocratic sense of style.Beauty and passion combined together with moments of ravishing beauty like the little cadenza before the final great build up.A sound that was always of a fluidity and never allowed to harden no matter the technical difficulty.
If the coda was a little laboured it is because this young man must spend more time at the keyboard to eliminate also small blemishes that did occur during the recital.His extraordinary talent demands more hours to turn a wonderful picture into a masterpiece.He is a great artist in the making and must suffer more for his quite considerable artistry.

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