Saturday 11 March 2.00 pm – 6.00 pm
‘New Faces’ Piano Festival – Day 1
8 superb pianists play their debut recitals at St Mary’s Perivale
organized by St Mary’s Perivale and Christopher Axworthy
Eight star pianists in a unique showcase festival at the Piano Mecca of London …..all streamed live on you tube or Vimeo ……they just need an audience of discerning listeners – the rest they will do themselves with their extraordinary artistry and with a little technical help from the magnificent team led by Hugh Mather.
Day one saw four pianists two of whom are new to me but none have ever played at St Mary’s before.Four very interesting recitals with completely different programmes with remarkably no overlapping of works.The interesting thing was the fact that although it is the same piano they are playing they all got completely different sounds from it.Of course all four pianists have a technical mastery earned by years of hard work and discipline under expert guidance.But there are many different sounds in each key and it is personal taste that decides what sound to draw out of each key.A taste acquired by listening to many performances of music of all types and choosing a path from listening to performances that one does not agree with as well as those that are cherished .A musical character is formed and in the practice studio hours are spent trying to piece together a jigsaw puzzle that is an accumulation of personal taste.Rubinstein likened it to the bees pollinating flowers that they choose ,every bee chooses differently and so each pot of honey is different from another.A simple analogy from a pianist who at the end of his long life had found the sublime simplicity that had the world at his feet.
2.0 pm Henry Cash
Henry Cash I have not heard before but his teacher Colin Stone has played many times in Perivale.It was obvious from his musicianly performances that he is receiving advice from a master.Henry is a true musician armed with a very solid technique that seems to know no difficulties .He chose Rachmaninov’s favourite prelude to open his concert.I remember Benno Moiseiwitch playing it to his friend Rachmaninov who was surprised when Benno said it reminded him of ‘the return’.Rachmaninov was taken aback as that is exactly what inspired the piece.Henry played it with great poise and a remarkable clarity,simplicity and great assurance.His musicianship is of great architectural lines and his body movements are like a continual wave from which sounds are discovered with naturalness and ease.There are no half lights or insinuating textures but a direct simple message without any rhetoric or showmanship that could interrupt this continual flow of sounds.
The Brahms Sonata in five movements is a very difficult work to hold together as the intimate details and contrasts can detract from the continual flowing undercurrent that takes us on a forty minute journey .I have rarely heard this sonata played with such assurance both technical and musical as today in the hands of this twenty three year old artist.Because an artist he certainly is and there were many ravishingly beautiful things in his performance as there was also passion,drama and a technical mastery that allowed him to play fearlessly the treacherous octave leaps that Brahms demands.The coda to the last movement was played with a clarity and a speed that I have rarely heard in the concert hall.The scherzo too was played with exhilarating daring and a relentless forward movement.It contrasted with the sublime beauty of the Andante and the intensity of the Intermezzo
Henry Cash is 23 and from Huddersfield. He began his musical training at Chetham’s School of Music, age 13, before receiving a scholarship in 2017 to study with Rustem Hayroudinoff at the Royal Academy of Music. After graduating with a first class degree from the Royal Academy he received a scholarship to study with Colin Stone at the Royal Northern College of Music. He has given numerous concerts in the UK and abroad including solo recitals in venues such as the Bridgewater Hall, the Stoller Hall and St James’s Piccadilly. He performed Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 1 in 2015 (age 16), accompanied by the Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra and again with the Bristol Classical Players in 2018. Henry won second prize at the 2021 James Mottram International Piano Competition performing the Grieg Piano Concerto with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in the final round. He is grateful for the generous support he recieves from the Drake-Calleja Trust, the Pendle Young Musicians’ Bursary and the Oglesby Charitable Trust.
3.0 pm José Navarro Silberstein
The Davidsbundler saw another side of this remarkable musician.He had put aside his native love of life for the more serious German side to his character.The dances were played with superb intelligence and remarkable control even if it sometimes missed the fleeting dance element of elegance and grace of Eusebius.Florestan was very much magnificently in charge and even the opening Lebhaft was played with a more military band than a court orchestra opening the ball.There was not much humour to the party like atmosphere of the third dance but there was ravishing beauty and superb sense of balance with the ‘innig’ that precedes it.This is the true voice of Eusebius- Schumann’s soul speaking.Florestan could have fun too as he showed us so eloquently and with superb technical control in the sixth ‘Sehr rasch’.Frisch and lebhaft were German style and not part of they party atmosphere until we got to ‘mit humour ‘which was thrown of with ease and grace and daring technical skill.Banana skins abound,in this little dance ,for lesser mortals but theres was no fear of slipping for José.It was in the thirteenth dance that the two sides of Schumann’s personality were united in a performance that was both ‘wild und lustig’ but also touchingly solemn and serious.The most beautiful of all is the fourteenth ‘zart und singend’ and it was here that we could appreciate the true artistry of this young Bolivian pianist.A perfect sense of balance that allowed one of Schumann’s most beautiful melodies to sing so simply and naturally.How Schumann with so little could say so much is a wonder of the world.Liebeslied and the end of Liederkreis are touching examples of Schumann’s inheritance from Schubert.Followed by a rather German style ‘Frisch’ and ‘mit gutem humor’ that brought us back into the real world too soon.The magical 8th of book 2 – the final dance where José was back in wonderland with a distant look back at the magical evening that had been spent together .A masterly control of sound and colour as we were left suspended in air on the final chord.Schumann had more to say with his last nostalgic waltz where José put his scholarship behind him as he allowed his heart to sing with the deeply felt sould of a true artist.
Who better to play Villa Lobos’s ‘Brazilian Cycle’ than José Navarro.Latin blood was flowing with hypnotic results as he played the four pieces W.374 with scintillating excitement and throbbing passion.Hysterics too in the ‘Feast of the Hinterlands’ with a joyous toccata full of bright sunlight and high spirits.There was the haunting beauty of the ‘Native Planting Song’ with it’s seductively beautiful tenor melody accompanied by golden arabesques.They were exquisite with an etherial lightness,a jeux perlé par excellence,from a pianist with a mastery of colour and style.There were almost hysterical interruptions of startling virtuosity but always returning to the ever more beautiful native melody.The ‘Dance of the White Indian’ with it’s menacing bass rumble and ever more insistent excitement was played with astonishing energy and virtuosity.
The young Bolivian pianist has performed in different countries in venues and festivals in Europe, South America and USA. Halls include Teatro Municipal “Alberto Saavedra Pérez” in his hometown La Paz to the Musikverein in Vienna. He is a Talent Unlimited Artist in London. As a soloist, he has performed with the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra, Norddeutsche Philharmonie Rostock, Georgian Philarmonic Orchestra, La Paz Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta de Jóvenes Musicos Bolivianos, Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil de Santa Cruz de la Sierra among others. He is a prize winner at the Anton Rubinstein Piano Competition in Düsseldorf, Tbilisi International Piano Competition in Georgia, International Competition Young Academy Award in Rome, Claudio Arrau International Piano Competition in Chile among many others. He was a finalist at the Eppan Piano Academy and at the 63r d Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition. In Bolivia he gave masterclasses in La Paz Conservatory, Sucre Conservatory Santa Cruz Fine Arts College and Laredo School in Cochabamba. He served as a jury member in national music competitions. He was mentored by Paul Badura Skoda. He studied with Balasz Szokolay at the Franz Liszt University in Weimar and with Claudio Martínez Mehner at the University of Music and Dance in Cologne. At the moment he is at the Artist Diploma programme at the Royal College of Music in London under the guidance of Norma Fisher and Ian Jones.He holds scholarships from Royal College of Music, Herrmann Foundaiton Liechtenstein- Bolivia, Theo and Petra Lieven Foundation of Hamburg, Clavarte Foundation in Bern and Elfrun Gabriel Foundation for Young Pianists.
4.10 pm Misha Kaploukii
A Mozart of crystalline clarity with ornaments that sprang from Misha’s fingers like well oiled springs.There was a driving rhythmic energy but also subtle contrasts in dynamics played with elegance and style.An Andantino that had a purity of sound with its chiselled beauty and poise and a Rondo of such innocent good humour and driving energy.Exemplary Mozart exclaimed Dr Mather,but it was more than that as it was played like a true artist who listens to himself and shapes the music with loving care and intelligence .
The piano was immediately engulfed in sumptuous sounds with Schumann’s eighth novelette.The longest and most complex ,it could well have been the first movement of a Sonata or Fantasy with its continual changes of character and mood.There was a driving passion but also a clarity due to Misha’s sparing use of the pedals that allowed all the strands of Schumann’s ingenious counterpoints to be heard so clearly.Playful capricious contrasts alternated with passionate outbursts of swirling romantic fervour played with remarkable technical mastery.There was also the touching etherial beauty where Misha played with such refined sounds.Schumann shows us a whole world in this last of his op 21 novelettes.Richter used to play it (together with the fourth in D ) with the same driving rhythms and breathtaking passion that swept all before it .Misha too showed us what a masterpiece it can be in the hands of a true artist.
The piano was engulfed in romantic sounds as Brahms’s poignant arpeggios spread over the keyboard with driving passion and poignancy.A technical command that incorporated the playful capricious contrasts before being enveloped in the washes of even more passionate cascades of notes.There was a beautiful simplicity to Brahms’s seemingly innocent B minor Capriccio with its quixotic changes 4643 5z and sty4t4eafescjle.
There was an extraordinary technical control in the Bartok studies with amazing sounds spread with remarkable virtuosity over the entire keyboard in the second.There was also the toccata like gymnastics of the third study with its majestic outpouring and surprise ending .
Mompou was played with a capriciousness and ravishing beauty.There were sumptuous rich sounds of beguiling melodic insinuation.Tinged with nostalgia as it was played with great artistry.One could do no better than to quote Joan Chissell when she said ‘Baubles were turned into Gems.’
Pianist and flautist Misha Kaploukhii was born in 2002 and is an alumnus of the Moscow Gnessin College of Music, where he studied in the piano class of Mikhail Egiazarian. Misha is currently studying at the Royal College of Music; he is an RCM and ABRSM award holder generously supported by Robert Turnbull Piano Foundation and Talent Unlimited charity studying for a Bachelor of Music with Professor Ian Jones. He also gained inspiration from lessons and masterclasses with musicians such as Claudio Martínez Mehner, Dmitri Bashkirov, Jerome Lowenthal and Konstantin Lifschitz. Misha already has experience of performing with orchestras internationally including his recent debut in Cadogan Hall with the Rachmaninoff 1st Piano Concerto, his overall repertoire includes a wide range of solo and chamber music. Recently, Misha has won prizes in the RCM concerto competition (playing Liszt’s 2nd Piano Concerto) and in the International Ettlingen Piano Competition.”
5.10 pm Yura Zaiki
Debussy’s Images Book 1 were played with great poise and elegance.Reflets dans l’eau was allowed to hover above the keys and Hommage a Rameau was played with aristocratic style. Mouvement was a continuous outpouring of whispered sounds with tumultuous outbursts played with technical bravura of notes spread with ease over the entire keyboard.
The Liszt Sonata was played with blazing passion and technical bravura.There were moments in the andante of great beauty.This is one of the great works of the Romantic repertoire and is dedicated to Schumann.When the score arrived at the Schumann household Clara declared that it was a blazing noise and she certainly would never play it in public.Hans von Bulow gave the first performance and it takes a true musician to followed Liszt’s very precise road map for a work of such blazing originality.The opening pages are marked piano,mezzo forte leading to the fortissimo outburst and the true start of Liszt’s adventure on the second page.The three opening themes are the leit motif that are transformed in a highly original way creating a revolutionary new art form that was to be such an influence on Liszt’s son in law .Richard Wagner took it to sublime heights in the Ring Cycle.Yura played it with great conviction and the public were totally won over but a more careful study of the score would reveal a work of searing originality and fundamental importance and not just a showpiece for brilliant virtuosi.
Yura Zaiki is a Japanese pianist based in London. She studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with Professors Aaron Shorr, Fali Pavri, and Jonathan Plowright, where she completed her bachelor and masters degree. Her studies have been supported by the ABRSM scholarship, and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland trust scholarship. She graduated top of her class and was awarded the Performance Prize for Keyboard.Previously, she joined the Junior Department of the Royal Academy of op let Music, where she won First prize in the Iris Dyer Piano Competition. Her awards in competitions include First prize in the Evangelia Tjiarri International Competition, Second prize in the Elena Richter International Competition, First prize in the Chiba Piano Competition, plain First prize in the North London Piano Festival, Fifth prize in the Petrof Piano Competition. She also received the Craxton Memorial Trust Award.She has performed in venues such as the Piano Festival at FAZIOLI Hall in Italy, and the BBC interval concert at Glasgow City Halls. She was also invited to perform by the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania & Japan at Goldsmiths University of London, at the Institut français d’Écosse in Edinburgh, and the Larnaca Municipal Theater in Cyprus. She is an animal lover and a founder of The Cerasus, where she organises a series of charity concerts in Tokyo, London, and Glasgow, for animals in need. She also had the privilege of playing in Masterclasses with great pianists including Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Richard Goode, Robert Levin, Steven Osborne and Frank Wibaut. (250)
What fun we had …..and what music ……..,and another day still to enjoy