Pedro Lopez Salas at St James’s seduced by the weight and style of a great artist

I have heard Pedro before,encouraged to listen to a very talented student by his teacher at the RCM Norma Fisher. I could never have imagined that he would mature into an artist of such stature that the only way of describing his recital today was ‘sensational’.Such weight and sensitivity where every note had a meaning in an overall architectural structure of remarkable maturity.Could it have been the times we are living as Semyon Bychkov said introducing Ma Vlast – My fatherland with the Czech Philharmonic?Maybe we listen in these terrible times to the music we have known for a life time in a different way.

The Great Gate of Kiev

The Great Gate of Kiev we certainly listened in a different way today not only because of the terrible news from the Ukraine but also because this young man played it with such a sense of style and colour with real physical elan.An old much abused war horse was truly reborn as we hope a miracle might occur in real life to curb the zealous evil of a despot.

It had been from the very first luminous notes of the Promenade of Mussorgsky’s Pictures that our attention was immediately caught and we were held very much under the spell of the authority and extraordinary musicianship of this young artist.The character he brought to Gnomus was captivating as was the sublime beauty of the promenade 2 before the gentle flow of the Old Castle .It was played with such subtle colouring with a sumptuous sense of balance of utmost sensitivity.A promenade 3 of weight and determination led to the irresistible insistence of children quarrelling in the Tuileries only to be interrupted by the grandeur of Bydlo.Such delicacy and luminosity in the promenade 4 was followed by the rhythmic pointing and delight of the unhatched chicks to find such fingerfertigkeit!Has Samuel Goldenberg ever sounded so pompous and serious and Schmuyle so beseechingly humble?The dexterity in the market place was astonishing for the breath control at such a pace.His sense of colour in catacombae was truly kaleidoscopic where every note of every chord had such meaning.The sheer physical urgency of Baba Yaga was overpowering with an absolutely hypnotic energy that swept all before it.There was such grandeur in the opening statement of the Great Gate and a serenity and complete change of colour that was deeply moving for the two chorale episodes.The gradual tolling of the bells showed a quite extraordinary sense of balance and control without ever loosing the inner tension and energy.It demonstrated the total immersion of this young artist in his magic sound world that he was able to share so magnificently with us today.

A standing ovation after a truly sensational concert

A spontaneous standing ovation and insistence brought Pedro back with his castanets ,clicking his heels in an an absolutely scintillating performance of El Pelele by Granados .I never expected to hear it played with such charm and style again since Alicia de Larrocha used to seduce us with it in Rome.He could have played all night but with three quarters of a century still before him this is just the beginning of a long and illustrious career.

Mention should be made of the curtain raiser.Clara Schumann’s Romance op 11 n.1 played with loving care.A great sense of balance with luminosity and delicacy and an aristocratic sense of style as he allowed this Mendelssohnian lament to unfold so naturally.Strange to see his right hand passing under the left but he could have played it on his head as the beauty of the music was obviously deep in his soul.Lieberman’s four Gargoyles were played with Prokofievian athleticism and rhythmic energy that swept all before it and gave us a foretaste of what was to come later in the programme.A beautiful Adagio and an even more mellifluous Allegro moderato gave us already a glimpse of his great sense of style and artistry.

This is the link to watch and enjoy the concert :

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