Roman Kosyakov a Masterly light shining brightly at St Marys

Thursday 17 November 3.00 pm

The French Suites, BWV 812–817, are six suites which Bach wrote for the harpsichord or clavichord between the years of 1722 and 1725.[Although Suites Nos. 1 to 4 are typically dated to 1722, it is possible that the first was written somewhat earlier.
The suites were later given the name ‘French’ as were the English Suites . The name was popularised by Bach’s biographer ForkelJohann who wrote in his 1802 biography of Bach, “One usually calls them French Suites because they are written in the French manner.”This claim, however, is inaccurate: like Bach’s other suites, they follow a largely Italian convention.The courantes of the first (in D minor) and third (in B minor) suites are in the French style; the courantes of the other four suites are all in the Italian style. In any case, Bach also employed dance movements (such as the polonaise of the sixth suite) that are foreign to the French manner. Usually, the swift second movement after the allemande is named either courante (French style) or corrente (Italian style), but in all these suites the second movements are named courante, according to the Bach catalog listing, which supports the suggestion that these suites are “French”. Some of the manuscripts that have come down to us are titled “Suites Pour Le Clavecin”, which is what probably led to the tradition of calling them “French” Suites.

A masterly recital from a great pianist.
The fluidity and luminosity he brought to the Allemande of Bach’s first French Suite was contrasted with the absolute clarity and rhythmic energy of the Courante.The same harpsichord quality where all the strands of knotty twine merge to create a fullness of sound and a rich texture of absolute clarity.It shows a transcendental technical control where each finger is independent and at the same time dependent on the others.There was simplicity and beauty in the long melodic lines of the Sarabande with the ornamentation only adding to the poignancy within the notes themselves.This was no imitation of a harpsichord but a reinvention on the modern piano but with the elegance and style of another age.A remarkable feat of reinventing Bach on the keyboard with the same skill that had been mysteriously bequeathed to the High Priestess Rosalyn Tureck.
The absolute delicacy of the Menuet 1 with the high lifting fingers with the same elegance as the dance itself and the beauty of the bass in Menuet 2 that seemed to be plucked out of thin air.
The nobility and regal authority of the French overture rhythms in the final Gigue brought this rarely played gem to an exhilarating end from the authoritative hands of a master.

On 18 October 1802, barely a fortnight after Beethoven had penned his famous ‘Heiligenstadt Testament’, in which he confessed that his deafness had brought him to the brink of suicide, Beethoven wrote to the publishers Breitkopf & Härtel offering them two newly-composed sets of variations op 34 and 35 which were, he assured them, quite unlike any he had ever composed before. Both, he claimed, were written ‘in a quite new style and each in an entirely different way. Each theme in them is treated independently and in a wholly different manner. As a rule I only hear of it from others when I have new ideas, since I never know it myself; but this time—I myself can assure you that in both works the style is quite new for me.’

Richter was one of the most recent pianists in my lifetime to discover the variations in F by Beethoven.
It takes a great pianist to bring their multifaceted character to life with simplicity ease and strangely for Beethoven with an elegance and almost operatic delicacy.
From the bel canto ornamentation of the first variation contrasting with the march like energy of the second dissolving into the mellifluous fluidity of the third .The quixotic question and answer of the fourth followed by the inquisitous mystery of the fifth.
A final variation that was pure opera buffa as it dissolved into the magical return of the theme in the tenor register with the delicate embellishments of the final few bars.
It is hard to contemplate that the next work from Beethoven’s pen would be the mighty Eroica variations op.35!

The Grand Piano Sonata op .37, was written in 1878. Although initially received with critical acclaim, the sonata has struggled to maintain a solid position in the modern repertoire.It is dedicated to Karl Klindworth.Tchaikovsky complained about the difficulties he faced in writing his sonata:
‘I’m working on a sonata for piano… does not come easily. …I worked unsuccessfully, with little progress… I’m again having to force myself to work, without much enthusiasm. I can’t understand why it should be the case that, in spite of so many favourable circumstances, I’m not in the mood for work… I’m having to squeeze out of myself weak and feeble ideas, and ruminate over each bar. But I keep at it, and hope that inspiration will suddenly strike.
When Tchaikovsky’s violinist friend Iosif Kotek arrived at Clarens, the composer’s efforts quickly became focused on his Violin Concerto, and work on the sonata was discontinued.He resumed work on the sonata in mid-April and completed it before the month’s end. It was premiered in a concert of the Russian Musical Society by Nikolai Rubinstein , much to the composer’s delight:
‘The Sonata was performed… with such unattainable perfection, that I could not have stayed to listen to anything more, so I left the hall completely enraptured.

A masterly performance of Tchaikowsky’s Grand Sonata was breathtaking in its sweep and authority.A range of colours from the most majestic full sonority to delicate whispered moments of great introspection.This was indeed a performance to cherish and even make one wonder why this grandiose sonata is not more often heard in the concert hall.

Tatyana Nikolaeva on the stage of the theatre created by the great Italian actress Ileana Ghione seated with her

In Rome it had been Tatyana Nikolaeva who had played it for us programmed with Mussorgsky ‘Pictures’.this was in between programmes that included The Goldberg Variations and The Art of Fugue.It is a work that requires not only a virtuoso technique and a certain amount of showmanship but above all a musicianship that can see the wood from the beautiful trees.There is an underneath driving force that must never be broken and it is this that gives it a monumental architectural shape.It is exactly this unrelenting forward movement in Roman’s hands that made the performance so overwhelming in its nobility and subtle musicianly virtuosity.Breathtaking indeed when performed like today .

Roman Kosyakov is a Russian concert pianist, and Ambassador for Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition. He is a laureate of many nationals and international competitions: 2 nd prize in UK Piano Open International Piano Competition (London, 2020), 1 st prize in the 14th Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition (2018), Gold Prize of the 3 rd Manhattan International Music Competition (2018); 1 st prize and the audience prize in the 10th Sheepdrove Piano Competition (2018). He studied at the Central Music School in Moscow and at the Tchaikovsky Moscow Conservatoire. Since 2017, he has studied at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire with Pascal Nemirovski. Roman’s performance career includes engagements in prestigious venues and festivals across the UK, US and Europe. He is regularly invited to perform with the Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra, the English Symphony Orchestra and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. In January 2019 Roman received “The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire – Silver Medal” by the Musician’s Company in the UK, became a member of Musician’s Company Yeomen Young Artists’ Programme. Roman is a winner of The Denis Matthews Memorial Trust award, Kirckman Concert Society Artist Prize and is a scholar of the Drake Calleja Trust. He has recorded a debut CD for “Naxos” with works by Liszt which was released in late 2020.

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