Tuesday 15 November 3.00 pm
Some extraordinary playing from one of the youngest members of the McLachlan clan.
A family where music is part of everyday life as they affront the most amazing activity as a united family with a freshness and disarming humility as they allow their music to flow so naturally from their being.
There is also a younger member of this remarkable clan ,the only one who does not play the piano professionally,but has instead chosen the path of professional goalkeeper.He has been chosen to be a junior member of the team in New York.
Matthew surprised even his mother last year when he ran off with the most prestigious piano prize at the Royal College of Music -The Chappell Gold Medal,when only in his second year.
To think it was by a hair string that he too had not followed his younger brother into the arena but as a professional boxer!
This is a family that if they decide to do something,they dedicate their heart and soul to it as we were only too aware today in Perivale.
A programme that would be enough to strike terror into the hearts of most pianists.
Brahms’s First Sonata op 1 and Chopin’s darkly brooding E flat minor Polonaise.Ending with the tour de force that is Stravinsky’s own arrangement of Petrushka dedicated to Rubinstein who rarely had the courage to play the three dances in public!
No sign of fear from Matthew today but just a glimmer every so often of being touched by the beauty of sounds that were pouring from his fingers.
Sitting back ,listening to his playing as he brought full orchestral sounds to this early work of Brahms.The rhythmic energy of the opening as he pounced on the keys dissolved as if by magic into the ravishing beauty of the second subject.A kaleidoscope of sounds and a sense of balance that never lost sight of the musical line and architectural shape as this symphony for piano was allowed to unfold .An Andante of rare beauty and simplicity, never allowing the pulse of the music to sag but the multi colours from a palette of sounds giving shape to this most pastoral of movements.
There was dynamic energy to the Scherzo contrasted with the Trio of the mellifluous richness of the finest of string orchestras.A final Allegro with a nervous energy that never let up until the final triumphant notes.
Chopin’s most mysterious and melancholic of Polonaises op 26 was played with whispered threats until a ray of sunlight brought things out into the open with spontaneous dance rhythms.The ever present cloud however was hovering over this work until the final shriek at the closure after a subdued vision of a distant military march.
There was no sign on this young man’s face of how deeply he felt the music but he was able through great technical control to share his hidden inner feelings with an audience following in rapt attention.
The infectious sense of dance in the three movement from Petrushka belied the technical hurdles that Matthew was scaling with seeming ease.Each dance was full of character as his range of sounds allied to a constant forward drive was indeed hypnotic.A tour de force of transcendental piano playing of great musicality and sense of character.
I don’t know how he would have been as a boxer but as a pianist it is evident his artistic soul and ease at the keyboard are remarkable gifts.
Matthew McLachlan was born in 2000 and started piano lessons with his father in 2008. At 11 years of age he passed grade 8 and entered Wells Cathedral School as a specialist musician, studying with John Byrne. After two years in Somerset he entered Chetham’s in Manchester where he studied piano with Dina Parakhina and Cello with Gill Thoday. After gaining the ATCL and LTCL recital diplomas with distinction in 2014 and 2015, Matthew was awarded the FTCL in 2016. This followed on from winning third prize in the senior division of the first Scottish International Youth Prize Competition, held at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in July 2016. In 2014 Matthew’s performance of Ravel’s G Major Piano Concerto was commended in the Chetham’s Concerto competition and in the same year he was a prizewinner at the 2014 Mazovia Chopin Festival in Poland. As a result of his performance in Mazovia, he was selected to perform a 60-minute solo recital at the 2015 World Piano Teachers’ Conference (WPTC) in Novi Sad, Serbia. In 2016 Matthew gave many recitals and was a finalist in the Chetham’s Beethoven Piano Competition for the second year running. In March 2017 he was awarded first prize in the Chetham’s Senior Bach competition. In August 2017 he performed Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto no. 1 in the Paderewski Festival in Poland. In Autumn 2017 he had a tour of concert performances featuring Brahms’ Sonata no. 1 in C major. Matthew is currently on a gap year, but before leaving Chetham’s he won the school’s Bosendorfer competition, playing Stravinsky’s ‘Three movements from Petrushka’. In 2018 he performed Mozart’s 13th concerto in Trieste, Haddington and Rhyl as well as Tchaikovsky’s first and Beethoven’s fourth concerto in Buxton with the orchestra of the High Peak. In the winter of 2018, the Knights of The Round Table awarded Matthew with a full scholarship at the Royal College of Music in London, where he now studies.