Aidan Milkdad a name to remember ……astonishing playing for the Imogen Cooper Music Trust.A Liszt Sonata of such clarity and assurance with an architectural understanding that made you almost forgive his youthful passion that ignored Liszt’s very specific dynamic instructions.
But there were so many memorable things that when he has had a serious talk with Dame Imogen he will understand that there can only be one climax that must be the very pinnacle of the sonata.
The tumultuous and overpowering climax before the return of the deep mysterious opening chords.He played the fugato at breakneck speed too (because he can!) and then of course he had to put the break on.There were so many beautiful things though and a technical ease that allowed such clarity.The opening with its murmured mystery so beautifully shaped and that reached sublime heights in the final bars when Aidan hinted at a dissonance so unexpected but for that so moving.As Ashkenazy once said,the final two pages of Sonata are some of the most moving in all of music.It was after all the spectacular gymnastics that this young man had understood that these final pages were the very core of this masterpiece and he was able to reveal it’s soul as only a kindred spirit could do.No wonder Liszt scratched out his triumphant first draft for the sonata where like Busoni with the Goldberg variations it finished in a blaze of glory.The genius of Liszt was able to pen one of his most moving utterances that pointed to the future.The Genius of Liszt has no bounds.Q.E.D.
I remember,as students,buying the fifty pence Turnabout recording of Alfred Brendel who was a beacon in a world of empty virtuosi who would dare dabble their feet in such dangerous waters.
Of course Beethoven’s op.110 was given an exemplary performance with scrupulous attention here to the composers indications and much else besides.There was a fluidity and luminosity to the sound contrasting with the butterfly clarity of the leggiermente and the simplicity with which he played the astonishing change from E flat to D flat before the development.His scrupulous attention to Beethoven’s very precise markings where his left hand meanderings were so clear but never overpowered the right hand melodic line as it found its way back home.What poignancy he brought to the coda and the final two chords played with such delicacy of one who is truly listening to every sound he makes.The Allegro molto was played very deliberately with great care of the dynamics.The treacherous trio held no fear for this young man but if he had given more weight to the bass notes that Beethoven marks to be accented it would have given much more weight and meaning to his continuous meanderings.There was a sublime timeless beauty to the Adagio which led to the serenity of the fugue.It built to a climax before the miraculous change of key and the melodic line breathing its dying breath – ‘perdendo le forze,dolente’.The simplicity and mastery of his playing was very moving as it wove its way inexorably to the triumphant final pages building the tension that was to explode in the glorious outpouring of its arrival home.Dame Imogen was looking on in admiration at her young disciple,how could it be otherwise!
Scriabin’s hypnotically obsessive 3rd Sonata was played with fluidity and radiance with his youthful passion and exuberance in the tumultuous climaxes and how could one criticise when the impact was so overwhelming.Power,passion and luminosity but above all radiance and sumptuous beauty like jewels sparkling brightly in the intoxicating perfumed air.The 5 preludes op 5 by Scriabin too that had opened his programme with the passionate outpouring of the second,ravishing beauty of the third and elegance of the fifth all played with such kaleidoscopic colour and style.
A ravishingly solid performance of the nocturne op 9 for the left hand alone was his way of thanking the audience.Scriabin’s right hand had been almost irreparably damaged trying to get his fingers around Liszt’s Don Giovanni paraphrase.
There was no risk of that with our young hero tonight as he dedicated to our hostess,Anne Machin,a dazzling transcription by Volodos of Liszt’s 13th Hungarian Rhapsody.
Left to young virtuosi like Aidan these days to astonish and amaze as the elder statesman Volodos turns to the classics.
It was indeed a fizzling end to a remarkable concert by a 21 year old pianist who is obviously headed for the heights.
On his knees before Dame Imogen asking forgiveness for giving way to such undisguised showmanship.How could we not forgive him as we were all enthralled and involved in the excitement this young man had generated with his astonishing virtuosity.