Milda Daunoraite live stream concert for the Keyboard Charitable Trust – youthful charm and ease at the service of music

Recorded at St Matthew’s Church, Ealing
and now Free-to-View on our YouTube channel.

It was the same innocence of simple music making that I had heard from Milda in Perivale recently that was the hallmark of her recital for the Keyboard Trust .Such a refreshing ‘joie de vivre’ of a young pianist who actually looks carefully at the score and with crystalline technical ease can imbue the music with youthful charm and energy.The same innocent charm that she shared with Prof Leslie Howard in their brief post concert slightly one sided conversation.Charmed he was too!Especially having enjoyed her performances of Beethoven,Debussy and Bartòk where she had delved deeply into the score and translated what she had found into sounds of such buoyancy and well oiled fluency.It was good to be reminded by Prof.Howard that Bartòk had written his Sonata with the Imperial Bosendorfer in mind – a piano that can be bewildering with its 97 keys- the extra keys painted black or even covered by a wooden box! It can be very disconcerting to a pianist that is used to navigating the standard keyboard.The nine extra keys are coloured black so the pianist can distinguish them from the standard 88. The keys are rarely used, but the extra bass strings add harmonic resonance that contributes to the rich, overall sound of the instrument.

Beethoven Sonata No. 18 Op. 31 No.3

As Prof Howard had pointed out the three Sonatas op 31 could not be more varied.The first with is syncopated rhythms and extended bel canto Adagio grazioso to the dramatic outpourings of the second – so called ‘Tempest’ and the third that could almost be called pastoral.A sonata full of lightness and bucolic energy.I had heard Milda play op 81a ‘Les Adieux’ and was surprised as I was today by her youthful spirit and sense of improvisational discovery together with a microscopic attention to the composers meticulous indications.It is the same youthful sense of freedom that was so much admired in Annie Fischer well into her seventies!The ever youthful Artur Rubinstein chose this sonata to open the final concert in his long career at the Wigmore Hall when he was already in his 90th year!The opening of the sonata where the rests are as important as the notes and the intricate joining scale passages played with a precision never allowed the rhythmic impulse to waver in a haze of imprecision.Milda had all the precision of a Swiss watch but never allowed the music to sound mechanical or unnatural.The music unfolded with such bucolic energy that the mellifluous second subject just floated on a wave of energy that would have done ‘Alberti’ proud!Never allowing the phrases to be rounded off by a change of tempo and even the lead up to the recapitulation revealing the opening as if by surprise.The final two chords at the end of the movement were thrown off quietly and rather too matter of fact and came as a surprise. Beethoven had not been clear but his irascible temperament has never been in doubt though!The Scherzo was played with continual rhythmic buoyancy and one can see where Saint Saens got much of his inspiration almost a century later.A mixture of jeux perlé and ‘lost penny’ precision.No rage here though with a movement like a gust of fresh air blowing over the canvas.Exhilarating playing of character and unrelenting forward movement with fists full of notes playfully chasing each other up and down the keyboard.The ending pianissimo with no rallentando was exactly what Beethoven wrote and was just like the great man blowing out the final candle.A Menuetto and Trio in place of the usual slow movement just showed the character that Beethoven had imbued into this pastoral scene.A beautiful sense of balance allowed the melodic line to sing out so naturally and the simple poignancy of the coda was Beethoven’s genius raising its head so clearly.Even the seemingly innocent Trio full of meticulous indications was played with refreshing simplicity that made one realise why Saint Saens had chosen this as the basis of variations for two pianos.The bucolic ‘joie de vivre’of the ‘Presto con fuoco’ suited Milda’s youthful verve and energy.Unrelenting in its rhythmic energy and Milda’s meticulous care of phrasing gave extraordinary life and vigour to Beethoven’s simple melodic outline.Almost too serious in the poco ritardando after the accumulation of sounds led to the sudden electric injection of energy to the final few bars.The typical Beethovenian impatience slamming the door firmly shut ( surely what was intended in the first movement too?).
‘Sonore sans dureté ‘ ‘doux et fluìde’’sans nuances’ Debussy writes in the score of this tone poem of the Cathedral rising out of the sea .All beautifully realised by Milda with the ‘un peu moins lent’ played with delicacy and Michelangeli icy precision as it moved to the final climax before disappearing again.A murmuring bass that was played with such delicate precision and transcendental control before the return to the scene of the cathedral once more under the waves and out of sight .Minstrals was played with great character and rhythmic drive.The rapid changes showing Milda’s chameleonic kaleidoscope of sounds as she moved into the sleezy night club atmosphere that Debussy cheekily adds to try to dampen his minstrel’s gaiety.’La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune’ was played with a sumptuous sense of atmosphere and real delicacy all the time maintaining the long architectural line with a rhythmic undercurrent on which these sounds were floated so magically.Debussy’s very precise indications of touch were beautifully played with the luminosity of the calm and silence of this moonlit scene.Some remarkable playing of great delicacy allied to a rhythmic intensity that allowed her to give such shape and meaning to these ravishing jewels.Debussy wanted them to speak for themselves adding a title only after the last note had sounded.

Debussy Préludes
La cathédrale engloutie
La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune

To quote myself if I may:’ a demonic performance with its pungent rhythms and kaleidoscopic range of sounds.‘ ‘A slow movement of intensity and crystalline simplicity -sostenuto e pesante indeed.Breathtaking as it was breathless the driving rhythmic energy of the Allegro molto.’

Bartók Piano Sonata, BB 88 (Sz. 80)

The Piano Sonata, BB 88, Sz. 80,Hungarian composer Béla Bartòk was composed in June 1926 known to musicologists as Bartók’s “piano year”, when he underwent a creative shift in part from Beethovenian intensity to a more Bachian craftsmanship.It is in three movements: Allegro moderato. Sostenuto e pesante. Allegro moltoIt is tonal but highly dissonant (and has no key signature), using the piano in a percussive fashion with erratic time signatures. Underneath clusters of repeated notes, the melody is folklike. Each movement has a classical structure overall, in character with Bartók’s frequent use of classical forms as vehicles for his most advanced thinking.Bartok wrote it with an Imperial Bosendorfer in mind, which has extra keys in the bass (97 keys in total) and the second movement calls for these keys to be used (to play G sharp and F).It is dedicated to his second wife Ditta-Pasztory – Bartòk

The Italian composer, conductor and pianist Ferruccio Busoni meticulously transcribes the famous organ works of Bach.He soon realises that he requires additional bass notes in order to do Bach’s masterpieces and the immersive sound of 16 to 32 feet bass pipes found in an organ justice. Ludwig Bösendorfer is ready to take on the challenge and builds the first prototype having full 8 octaves in tonal range. Not only Busoni starts to appreciate the exceptional qualities of the – later coined – Imperial Concert Grand: Bartók, Debussy and Ravel compose further works to exploit the tremendous resonance of this very instrument. These oeuvres can only played and interpreted as they were meant to on this Concert Grand. Evoking an extraordinary sound – sonorous and rich in expression and resonance – the timbre of the Imperial Grand seems to be orchestral. The additional deeper bass notes resonate with every key you strike and the massive soundboard supports the projection of any frequency. Ludwig Bösendorfer’s Imperial still to this day represents the precious heritage of the Bösendorfer piano manufactory.

Exhilarated and charmed by the youthful spirit of the remarkably talented young musician

Born in September 2001 in Anykščiai, Lithuania, Milda Daunoraite began her piano studies at the age of six.Studying piano performance at the The Purcell School For Young Musicians, London, with Tessa Nicholson she now continues her studies with her on a full scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music .With the support of “SOS Talents – Fondation Michel Sogny pour les Enfants Talentueux” and Mstislav Rostropovich Foundation, Milda began performing extensively throughout Europe for many eminent music societies, festivals and key events. Milda has performed at venues such as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, The Wigmore Hall in London, Musikhuset Aarhus in Denmark, United Nations headquarters in Geneva amongst others. In addition, she was given the opportunity to appear in countries such as France, Austria, Georgia, Poland, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Holland, Latvia, Russia, Sweden, United Kingdom and many cities across Lithuania. Furthermore, Milda is a prize-winner of numerous national and international piano competitions.In 2010, she was adjudicated a Grand Prix winner in the 10th International Competition “Music Without Limits”, Lithuania. In 2014, Milda won Grand Prix in the International Musicians Competition – festival “Renaissance”. In 2015, she won 1st prize in the 4th International Competition in Stockholm and the International Young Pianists Competition in Klaipėda, Lithuania. That year, Milda‘s playing impressed the jury once again and she received grand prix in the 15th International Competition “Music Without Limits”, Lithuania. Moreover, Milda was a four-time Prize winner in the National and International Balys Dvarionas Competitions for young pianists and violinists, followed by several special prizes: the best performance of a baroque piece, best performance of a classical composition, best performance of a contemporary piece, artistic prize. In 2016, she won the jury prize in the PIANALE International Academy & Competition and was awarded a concert in Fulda, Germany, and an opportunity to play with an orchestra. In 2017, Milda was a 1st prize winner in the 17th international competition-festival “Akordy Khorticy”, as a soloist and as soloist with orchestra.In March 2018, she won the 1st Prize in the International Vladimir Krainev Young Pianist Competition in Kharkov, Ukraine, as well as special prizes: the best performance of a classical period composition, best performance of a piece by F. Liszt, best performance of a virtuoso piece, EMCY Prize. In April 2018 she also won the Grand Prix at “Akordy Khorticy”. At the end of the 2019 academic year, Milda won the 1st prize in the Solo Competition at the Purcell School and as a prize she is going to perform Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major in the Queen Elizabeth Hall in March, 2020.Every year, Milda has an opportunity to appear in a Christmas concert held on the Champs Elysées in Paris. The young pianist’s performances were broadcast by Mezzo, TV5 Monde and Radio Classique. She has also performed in the Batumi concert hall twice, which was watched by both the Lithuanian and Georgian Presidents and at the EMMA World Summit of Nobel Prize Peace Laureates in Warsaw, Poland.Milda was invited to perform V. Bacevičius Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No.4, in the Lithuanian National Philharmonic with Lithuanian Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, together with conductor Martynas Stakionis, which was broadcasted by Euroradio, in November 2018.Milda was previously a student of Justas Dvarionas and has participated in masterclasses with artists such as Olga Kern, Pascal Devoyon, Pietro De Maria, Yong Hi Moon, Grigory Gruzman, Fali Pavri, William Fong, Mūza Rubackytė, Uta Weyand, Petras Geniušas and many others.

Click here to view now on YouTube.

Please consider a donation Please help us to continue supporting talented young artists by making a donation to the Keyboard Trust. Every penny will be used to help these outstanding musicians. Thank you so much.

Keyboard Charitable Trust for Young Professional Performers
30th Anniversary Year
Patron: Sir Antonio Pappano


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