Pedro Lopez Salas at St Mary’s -The magic box of colours of a great artist

Thursday 16 February 3.00 pm

Pedro Lopez Salas

An eclectic programme from a musician who can make even the most unfamiliar music speak with a voice of such subtlety and dynamism that one is compelled to listen.
A musician with a range of colours that very few can match.A technical assurance allied to a total commitment that is mesmerising.
Such were the ingredients today and it is is this compelling sense of communication that is rare indeed.A musician who not only listens to himself but is totally convinced about the sounds that he is creating.
An artist ready to honour the great concert halls of the world as he is indeed starting to do.
There was a kaleidoscope of colour that he found in the Ukrainian Karabyts preludes.The deeply felt melodic outpouring with the magic bell like sounds that he was able to produce in the first of the five that he chose from the set of twenty four was a technical tour de force .
There was a deep questioning with the continuous motion of the bass in the second and the deeply contemplative chorale line of the third with the expansive mellifluous melodic outpouring of the last.
It was the same intimate world as Mendelssohn because everything he played was like a voice with a different word on every note or phrase- Songs without words indeed.But sometimes music speaks louder than words and like in the postlude of Schubert’s songs can arrive in places where words are just not enough .
Of course the world of Mendelssohn is much more accessible to our more conventional ears but it is the same sound world.
The gentle weaving bass of the first song without words or the ravishing beauty of the ‘Venetian song ‘ of the second.The gentle staccato accompaniment in the third on which flows a melodic line full of Victorian sentiment.But never for a moment was it sentimental but always played with aristocratic poise and a subtle sense of rubato .The ‘Bees wedding ‘ is rarely played in concert these days.The last time I heard it was from Rubinstein as an encore and today it was played with the same timeless ease and character that I remember.Pedro also found some enchanting will’ o the wisp inflections that brought a smile to my face.
Great artists are a continual surprise even in the most familiar of pieces!
The Lieberman ‘Gargoyles’ in four movements was played with amazing clarity and phenomenal dexterity.In Pedro’s hands it was not empty virtuosity but full of meaning and driving force.There was ravishing beauty too of the beautiful mellifluous singing line over the almost inaudible chordal accompaniment in the second movement.The purity of the melodic line of the third had something of the same character as some of Rachmaninov’s mellifluous preludes with the gently flowing accompaniment to a melodic line of such purity.The perpetual motion of the last movement and the ever increasing dynamic drive and excitement was a tour de force of masterly control and viruosity.
The other Ukrainian composer this time of the nineteenth century was Bortkiewicz and Pedro played one of his highly romantic studies op 15.
A continuous outpouring of romantic sounds of sumptuous yearning beauty played with rich voluptuous sound contrasted with moments of supreme delicacy.
The Ginastera Sonata I have written about his remarkable performance before in the attachment that follows.But enough to say that it is a truly convinced and convincing performance of savage rhythms and driving energy.Even the whispered second movement is a tour de force of intricate playing of such clarity at such a quiet level .The slow movement was played with truly heartfelt sentiment with the beauty of the way he just stroked the keys that matched the beauty of the sounds he was able to produce.
Of course the last movement was an avalanche of dynamic energy and spectacular virtuosity.
A Prelude by Scriabin played as an encore produced sounds of a luminosity and liquidity that this young musician just pulled out of his magic box.
A box that all too few know the combination of and which is a secret shared only by the greatest of artists.

Ivan Fedorovych Karabyts was a Ukrainian composer and conductor, and a People’s Artist of Ukraine. He was born in village Yalta in the Donetsk region of the Ukraine, and graduated from the Kyiv Conservatory in 1971, where he studied under Borys Lyatoshynsky and Myroslav Skoryk.
Born: 17 January 1945, Ukraine
Died: 20 January 2002, Kyiv,Ukraine.
Ivan Karabits described his own style as follows:
‘In Soviet times, we received a basic education, but we were not sufficiently informed about what was going on in the multifaceted music world…. My music [is] characterized by a desire to synthesize different musical sources…Mahler, Lyatoshynsky, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, [are some who] influence my music…. I consider the most important of my works [to be]: Concerto for choir and orchestra “Garden of Divine Songs”; Symphony “5 songs about Ukraine”, 2nd concert for orchestra, 3rd concert for orchestra; Symphony for strings.’
Songs Without Words, German Lieder ohne Worte, is a collection of 48 songs written for solo piano by Felix Mendelssohn. Part of the collection—consisting of 36 songs—was published in six volumes during the composer’s lifetime.
Lowell Liebermann is an American composer, pianist and conductor.
Born: 22 February 1961 (age 61 years), New York .His Gargoyles are from 1989At the age of sixteen Liebermann performed at Carnegie Hall playing his Piano Sonata, op. 1. He studied at the Juilliard School of Music with David Diamond and Vincent Persichetti, earning bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The English composer-pianist Sorabji also expressed interest in Liebermann’s early work,Liebermann lives in New York City and presently serves on the composition faculty at Mannes College and is the director of the Mannes American Composers Ensemble
Sergei Bortkiewicz was a Russian-born Austrian Romantic composer and pianist. He moved to Vienna in 1922 and became a naturalized Austrian citizen in 1926.
Born: 28 February 1877, Kharkiv,Ukraine
Died: 25 October 1952, Vienna 2015 — He built his musical style on the structures and sounds of Chopin and Liszt, with the unmistakeable influences of Tchaikovsky.
Alberto Evaristo Ginastera was an Argentinian composer of classical music. He is considered to be one of the most important 20th-century classical composers of the Americas.
Born: 11 April 1916, Buenos Aires,Argentina
Died: 25 June 1983, Geneva ,Switzerland.
Ginastera grouped his music into three periods: “Objective Nationalism” (1934–1948), “Subjective Nationalism” (1948–1958), and “Neo-Expressionism” (1958–1983). Among other distinguishing features, these periods vary in their use of traditional Argentine musical elements. His Objective Nationalistic works often integrate Argentine folk themes in a straightforward fashion, while works in the later periods incorporate traditional elements in increasingly abstracted forms.His first Sonata op 22 is from 1952.

Born in 1997, Pedro López Salas is a Spanish pianist who is currently studying the Master of Performance Degree with Prof Norma Fisher at the Royal College of Music in London, awarded with full scholarship and the title of “Steinway Scholar” and the “Leverhulme Honorary Arts Scholarships”. He is a “Keyboard Trust” artist, as well as a “Talent Unlimited” artist, both from the UK. He has been awarded with more than 40 prizes at International and National piano competitions, among them, the Second Prize at the “International Paderewski Piano Competition” of Bydgoszcz (Poland), as well as four special prizes, including the best semifinal recital. The First Prizes at the Malta International Piano Competition; “Composers of Spain” CIPCE International Piano Competition (Las Rozas, Madrid); “Joan Chisell” Schumann Prize of the RCM (London); “Ce´sar Franck” International Piano Competition (Bruxelles), Second Prize and four special Prizes at the Ferrol International Piano Competition, etc. He has also received crucial inspiration from internationally renowned masters such as Dmitri Baskirov, Dmitri Alexeev, Alexander Kobrin, Pavel Nerssesian, Pascal Nemirovsky, Pavel Gililov, Marianna Aivazova, Mariana Gurkova and Ludmil Angelov.


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