HHH Concerts and The Keyboard Trust a winning combination of youthful dedication to Art

A superb new series dedicated to young artists – wonderfully organised by Stephen Dennison and all the HHH voluntary concert staff.A partnership with the Keyboard Trust that is obviously just the start of an important series for years to come.

A standing ovation for Adam Heron at end of the first of a new lunchtime series in Haslemere .Organised by Stephen Dennison of Cranleigh Arts in partnership with the Keyboard Trust .A sure fire success with a full house,marvellous publicity and the superb Shegaru Kwai brought in from Cranleigh for this mini series.

All gathered together to relish the consummate artistry of a great communicator whether by words or music.Adam a graduate of the Royal Academy where he was in the class of the renowned trainer of superb young musicians,Christopher Elton.

He also holds a masters degree from Cambridge University so his enlightened introductions of such warmth and intelligence prepared the audience for his sumptuous musical performances.
From the charm of early Elgar to the sturm und drang of Brahms Rhapsodies.He even included four short pieces of his own written last year of beguiling emotions and immediate appeal.
There was sublime aristocratic poise to the three beautiful Brahms Intermezzi op 117 before the driving rhythms and romantic fervour of Chopin’s first Scherzo op 20.

A standing ovation from an audience who Adam held spellbound in the beautiful surroundings of St Christopher’s Church in Haslemere.

Tomorrow the rising star of Thomas Kelly will create his own unique magic of piano showpieces from the Golden era of piano playing of which he is like Benjamin Grosvenor fast becoming a recognised master.

St Christopher’s Church Haslemere

And the final of this tris of lunchtime concerts on Friday will be with Milda Daunoraite a young Lithuanian pianist from the class of that other great trainer of young pianists Tessa Nicholson.
She will enlighten us intellectually with Bach and Beethoven before the romantic effusions of Scriabin’s early Fantasy sonata and astounding us with a Stravinsky Petroushka that will above all invigorate us with her refreshing intelligence and sheer exuberant joy.

A sensational recital by Thomas Kelly in the new lunchtime series in Haslemere organised by Stephen Dennison in partnership with the Keyboard Trust.
I first heard Tom when he swept the board at the Joan Chisell Schumann competition prize at the RCM.
At the time he was continuing his studies with the late Andrew Ball and is now completing them with Dmitri Alexeev.
He had a sound of his own of radiance and fluidity.Bass notes that seemed to resonate only for him with a rich sonorous sound of a truly ‘Grand’ piano.
He was so different from the other contestants and I immediately marked him out as someone with the God given gift of actually listening to the sounds he was making.

§§St Christopher’s Church

He has since gone from strength to strength and although his long term mentor is no longer with us he has bequeathed to Tom a research of pianistic colour and a jeux perlé brilliance of another age .
The Golden age of playing when subtlety,refined elegance and effortless virtuosity were combined with an individual sound created by artists who were influenced by all the beauty that surrounds them.
Tom like Benjamin Grosvenor was born of a different age and they are two of the most exciting realities for future music making.
The rebirth of a past era when piano virtuosi could seduce and hypnotise an audience not with barnstorming brilliance but with their kaleidoscope of sounds and a superhuman sensitivity and control that could create seemless streams of pianissimo notes of jewel like precision and colour.They could also make the piano roar but always with a sumptuous rich sound of a truly ‘grand’ piano.They were masters of understatement so that when they came to the architectural climax of a work it was truly breathtaking.

A very fine piano on loan from Cranleigh Arts which Stephen also directs.Deep bass notes like a Bosendorfer that give such depth and resonance to the sound .It was chosen by another KT artist Sasha Grynyuk

They were great musicians many of whom were also composers .Chopin and Liszt created the sounds on the piano that they had heard in the opera house with sumptuous bel canto embellishments that drew their audience in to them not bombard them with sounds.It is too often the case today with the modern day piano that can withstand sledgehammer tactics!
Piano playing should be like swimming not like brick building.The prime example of this today is Arcadi Volodos who sets the example where the beauty of his bodily movements depict the magic sounds that he is producing.A sculptor of sound.
Today in Haslemere Tom revealed that he has grown in stature and weight with a sense of discipline that was sometimes lacking.
Today ,above all,he revealed himself to be the great artist that was such a promise only five years ago.

A supreme stylist and great artist that is so needed in the rather barren uniform life that surrounds us.
A society where all too often it is quantity not quality that counts………Tom is showing us a magic world where a thing of beauty is a joy forever.
He at least is in love with the piano and is not afraid to share it with an audience.It is this that came across so clearly today.
Have the birds ever sounded so beautiful as they conversed so eloquently with a freedom and fantasy that belied the formality of Rameau’s time?
A luminosity of sound as Chopin’s haunting Andante spianato spread it’s wings with ravishing beauty and cascades of ornaments that just glistened like jewels sparkling as radiance shone upon them.
A Grande polonaise so often a barn storming contrast to the spianato was here played with an elegance and beguiling rubato that was stretched to the limit with a chiaroscuro insinuation of tantalising beauty.Breathtaking jeux perlé was played with an elastic ease of another age.

Excitement and virtuosity there was too with a piece that Chopin had seduced the Parisian salons of the day with,on his exile from his homeland that he was destined never to see again.
Busoni’s scintillating and visionary fantasy on Bizet’s Carmen was the first work that Tom had worked on with Andrew Ball.
After the lightweight gust of wind that opens this remarkable Sonatina a melody of sumptuous beauty was revealed as Tom’s truly magical sense of balance allowed the sumptuous velvet Philadelphian beauty of one of Bizet’s most memorable melodies to sing out with delicate embellishments glowing like jewels in the crown.Hair raising excitement of a habanera that had entered with sensual charm before turning into a whirlwind of decorative ornamentation.The rumbustuous entry of the brass band fanfares brought exhilaration and excitement.

Suddenly clouds of dust with a miriade of delicate cascades of notes brought us to the desolate finale of visionary beauty.
Even the final chords played staccato on a long held note where Tom’s transcendental control of sound showed that he like Busoni was an absolute master of creating an atmosphere of orchestral dimensions.
The works of Busoni are of atmospheres created with a mastery of the pedals that just demonstrates that the pedals are truly the soul of the piano as Anton Rubinstein had declared.
It was Kyril Gernstein who revealed so clearly ,at his extraordinary recital recently of Liszt and Busoni at the Wignore Hall,this misunderstood world where the visionary late works of Liszt are taken and developed by his disciple Busoni.
A strange world of atmospheres where nothing is written in stone but everything is suggested in sand.

With artistic director Stephen Dennison

What ravishing beauty he brought to Respighi’s nocturne a forgotten masterpiece of mellifluous golden sounds on which rose a melody chiselled with a purity and luminosity that was truly memorable .
What to say of Liszt’s revisitation of Lucrezia Borgia.
Tom had said before the concert that he could not understand why it was not more often heard in the concert hall.The only answer is because there are very few ,if any pianists,endowed with such transcendental virtuosity but above all a sense of style and showmanship.
It was what made of Liszt an idol of his time.
It will allow all those astonished,amazed and seduced today by this display of breathtaking recreation to say that they were there too when Thomas Kelly was at the start of his career.

Milda Daunoraite was the last to play in this mini series of three lunchtime concerts in Haslemere.
It was born of a collaboration between Stephen Dennison of HHH concerts and the Keyboard Trust.
After Adam Heron and Thomas Kelly it was the young Lithuanian pianist,student of Tessa Nicholson ,who was to play the final concert.
An alarm call the evening before to say that Milda was in bed with flu and did not think she would have the strength to play an encore after the exertions of Petrouchka.
But would she be well enough to play the recital?

Milda radiant even with a temperature

We need not have worried because from the very first notes of the Bach Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue she had risen to the challenge and plunged straight in with her usual youthful ‘joie de vivre’despite an occasional stifled cough.
Milda is a pianist of very strong character but above all a musician who has that rare gift of being able to make the music speak.
From the very first notes there was a conversation with the first whirlwind phrase answered by the next with very subtle inflections of colour and phrasing.
A conversation that opened a whole fascinating world and that held our attention as we were swept up in a continual wave of rhythmic energy.
A fugue that was barely audible such was the extreme delicacy of the opening statement which she built up in a continual crescendo until the final triumphant cadenza.

Her great musicality brought the opening of Beethoven’s Les Adieux Sonata vividly to life with a sensitivity to sound that gave such character to this very moving opening statement.
Bursting into the dynamic energy and a rhythmic fervour of the Allegro that follows she played with remarkable technical control and character. There was ravishing beauty in the Andante espressivo where the magical atmosphere she created at the end made the ‘vivacissimamente’outburst of the last movement even more startling.
Milda confessed that this was her first public performance of the Scriabin Fantasy Sonata as she threw herself fearlessly into it with sumptuous ravishing sounds and dynamic rhythmic energy.The barely whispered opening was transformed into a sumptuous melodic outpouring with cascades of notes embroidering Scriabin’s youthful romantic effusions.The last movement unleashed a true whirlwind of notes on which appeared the pulsating melody reaching passionate heights that just swept all before it.

Petrouchka is one of the great show pieces for piano.
It was dedicated to Stravinsky’s friend Artur Rubinstein and was a substitute for the Piano Rag music that his friend had commissioned but had not been happy with and refused to play in public.
There were far too many notes in the Petrouchka transcription for Rubinstein so he played his own arrangement agreed by the composer.
These days most pianists can conquer the multitude of notes quite easily but to bring the work back to life as Rubinstein did is only for the most gifted musicians.Those that unselfishly transmit the composers intentions rather than using the piece as a vehicle to show off their virtuosity and resiliance.
Milda immediately played the Danse Russe at a speed that the dancers of Stravinsky’s ballet suite could dance to without incurring injury.
There was great virtuosity too but also a sense of driving movement based on the dance.

A total identification with Chez Petrouchka as with devastating conviction she plunged into the depths of the piano only to create a heaven and hell situation that was mesmerising as it led to the joyous outpouring of ‘La Semaine grasse.’
A relentless driving rhythm of excitement out of which emerged the melodic line with the tension ever mounting until the final explosion that Milda played with fearless vehemence.

A standing ovation and cheers from an audience that she had held in her spell from the first to the last note.A valiant soldier who had braved her sick bed to bring such vibrant music making to today’s audience.But then Milda is already a great professional and refreshingly intelligent musician.Her playing is growing in authority and weight as her intensive studies continue with her severe task master ,Tessa Nicholson the teacher of artists of the stature of Alim Baesembayev,Mark Viner,Tyler Hay and many others.
Headed for the heights with a ‘joie de vivre’ which is refreshing and inspiring.
Haslemere can boast too to be one of the steps in a future important career thanks to the Keyboard Trust.
Milda very sweetly confided that the KT had given her so many concert opportunities how could she ever repay them!
Milda is augmenting he studies by working behind the scenes at the Wigmore Hall before she too will take them by storm on that hallowed stage.

With Stephen Dennison
With Christopher Axworthy co artistic director of the KT
Thank goodness music is the food of love!
Beautiful St Christopher’s Church

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