Liszt is alive and well and today in Perivale

Saturday 26 November 12 noon – 6 pm

The Liszt Society Annual Day and Competition

Some superb playing from this young ‘local lad ‘.His temperament and artistry were evident from the very first notes of Schubert’s Impromptu in E flat.The streams of notes that flowed from his fingers with such ease were shaped with infinite care and with a fluidity and washes of colour that contrasted with the second episode with its driving forward movement and dramatic ending.The beautiful G flat impromptu was played with a sumptuous sense of balance that gave the melodic line great poignancy as it rode on an accompaniment of such fluidity.It was the same ease and shape that he gave to the shimmering streams of notes in the fourth impromptu.A middle episode played with passion and temperament with the deep bass notes allowed to appear and sustain with great effect.

There was beauty too in Schubert’s Standchen with the shadowing of the melodic line in Liszt’s beautiful transcription played with ravishing sound and utmost delicacy.There was much busy weaving in Liszt’s Bagatelle sans tonalità with a technical control and architectural shape that made one wonder why this work is not more often heard in the concert hall.

It led without a break into the ‘Dante’Sonata that was given a performance that was remarkable for the sense of character he gave to each of the episodes.From the dramatic imperious opening to the hauntingly beautiful central episode.He gave the work a dynamic sweep with an extraordinary technical control that conquered all Liszt’s demonic passages with such ease.A vision of the whole work that gave weight and importance to the architectural shape and drama that was being enacted.Performances of superb technical control but above all of artistry and musical intelligence allied to a temperament that was totally convinced as it was convincing .

Connor Heraghty was awarded a place to study piano performance at the Purcell School of Music sponsored by scholarships from the government’s Music and Dance Scheme and the Mackintosh Foundation. He went on to study at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama where he completed the BMus (Hons), MMus and MPerf postgraduate degrees followed by the Artist Diploma (2019-21).Concerts have included recitals at the Fazioli Concert Hall in Venice, in London at the Wigmore Hall, St Martin-in-the Fields, St James’s Church Piccadilly, Milton Court Barbican, Drapers’ Hall and Buckingham Palace in the presence of Prince Charles. During his studies at the Guildhall Connor studied with Senior Professor of Piano, Joan Havill and he has also enjoyed participation in masterclasses given by such artists as Sa Chen, Peter Frankl and Stephen Hough.His studies all through have been supported by scholarships from the Guildhall Trust, Leverhulme Arts Trust, Countess of Munster and the Alec Beecheno Bursary Award. During 2021/22 Connor is the Guildhall Artist Fellowship holder of the keyboard department and is sponsored by Talent Unlimited

Shuri Masuda (Japan)
Danse macabre (Saint-Saëns) S.555
Rapsodie espagnole S.254

Some remarkable performances played with a rhythmic drive and technical prowess.Sometimes her temperament took the upper hand but she brought great character to the Danse macabre and extraordinary excitement to the Spanish Rhapsody.Her small hands in no way seemed to impede her totally committed performances.

Thanh Nhat Vu (Vietnam)
Études d’exécution transcendante No.12 “Chasse-neige” S.139
Ballade No.2 in B minor S.171

A Chasse neige of extraordinary fluidity and technical control that just missed the colour and atmosphere of this miniature tone poem.It was at times deeply felt and played with passion but missing the contrast of delicacy and magic.A remarkable performance of Liszt’s epic tale of Hero and Leander with the opening chromatic ostinati representing the sea where you can perceive how the journey turns more and more difficult each time. In the fourth night he drowns and the last pages are a transfiguration.A performance of technical control and moments of heroic grandeur,but missing the idea that a story is being told.Episodes of beauty contrasting with dynamic virtuosity and energetic commitment but lacking an overall architectural shape.

Miriam Gómez-Morán (Spain)
Un sospiro S.144/3
Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude S.173/3

A rather robust ‘Un Sospiro’ was followed by a ravishing performance of Bénédiction of aristocratic control and sumptuous sound.A sense of balance that allowed the melodic line to sing out so naturally.Here was an artist who had a story to tell of great beauty and poetry where even the pauses between the differing episodes were pregnant with meaning.A sound that had a golden glow and gave great shape and meaning to all she did.

William Bracken (UK)
Sonetto del Petrarca 104 (from Années de pèlerinage II: Italie, S.161)
Sonetto del Petrarca 123 (from Années de pèlerinage II: Italie, S.161)
La lugubre gondola II S.200
Sposalizio (from Années de pèlerinage II: Italie, S. 161)

Some very poetic performances from an artist who has a wonderful sense of balance and colour as he dug deep into the poetic content of these beautiful pieces by Liszt.Sposalizio in particular had a control and sense of balance where even with the octave accompaniment the melodic line was allowed to shine with a radiance and subtle beauty.His rather strange stage demeanour was a little off putting as he seemed to shake his fist in the air with worrying intensity.Almost as Brendel who had put a mirror in his studio to try to curb a similar habit.However performances of great artistry showing a remarkable technical control and ravishing sense of colour.
The jury listening to the performances at the back of the hall
The distinguished jury with their host Dr Hugh Mather announcing their verdict
The four contestants with the jury receiving their prizes :
William Bracken 1st ;Miriam Gòmez -Moràn 2nd;Shuri Masada and Thanh Nhat Vu joint 3rd


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