Victor Maslov at Cranleigh Arts – A great artist illuminates and enriches our lives

“I was totally mesmerised by a performance from an artist that listens so carefully to every sound with a sense of balance and complete mastery that allowed him to give a towering performance of Pictures from an Exhibition.” CHRISTOPHER AXWORTHY (Jan 2021).

This concert is fundraising for Cranleigh Arts

Russian pianist Victor Maslov was praised as “one of those
people who is close to all-round mastery of his repertoire” by the New York Concert Review, following his performance at Weill Recital Hall (Carnegie Hall), New York.


L. Janacek – “On an overgrown path”

Stravinsky – Agosti – “Firebird”


A fascinating interval conversation for those watching on line revealed Victor’s extraordinary sensibility and intelligence.What makes a great artist is not just studying from an early age and having the opportunity to study with some of the great musical minds of our time.Victor was brought up to believe that music was like living in a cocoon and that anything outside of that was of no relevance.
He now believes that the true artist cannot ignore what is going on around him and that if more people were aware and reacted to their condition war could be avoided as the way to solve conflicting ideals.
Art cannot and should not be the excuse for not seeing and feeling what is happening all around you.
I have followed Victor’s career for many years now and it has been a joy to watch an exceptionally gifted young pianist mature into a great artist.I believe that it is these very wise words that have had a great influence on maturing his musicianship as he has evolved his own ideals about the world he lives in.
He left Russian in 2014 having studied at the Gnessin School in Moscow for exceptionally gifted young musicians.His teacher was his mother.He came to London to study with one of the great pianists of our time at the Royal College of Music -Dmitri Alexeev .So he was steeped in the Russian tradition – but as he so astutely says,the world is now connected as it has never been before so the idea of a tradition is no longer tenable.
He was fortunate to study also with Vanessa Latarche ,Head of keyboard at the RCM and so also learnt about the so called ‘English’ tradition.
Asked if he felt he was now an exile he replied that he could go back to Russia whenever he chose.He chooses not to go back until it changes its present course.
Behind every great artist is a great man of course how could it be otherwise?Fascinating and Hats off to Cranleigh for allowing us to enter the very soul of an artist.

M. Mussorgsky – Pictures at an Exhibition

Promenade l 

The Gnomes

Promenade ll 

The Old Castle 

Promenade lll 

The Tuileries: Children’s dispute
after play 


Promenade IV

Ballet of the unhatched chicks 

Two Polish Jews: Rich and poor 

Promenade V 

The market at Limoges 

Roman Catacombs – With the dead
in a dead language 

Baba Yaga: The Witch 

The Heroes Gate at Kiev

Plus and exquisite Scriabin encore .

Victor chose six pieces from the Janacek cycle of ‘On an Overgrown Path’.A work rarely heard in the concert hall but one of very touching simplicity missing an overall architectural shape but creating an atmosphere with a hauntingly mellifluous traditional outpouring.’Our Evenings’ was played with absolute delicacy and simplicity and it led to ‘A blown- away leaf’ with all the gentle fluidity and luminosity of the fairytale it is.There was the playful halting rhythm of this short quixotic story ‘Come with us’ indeed!Followed by a deep brooding opening to ‘The Madonna of Frydek’ with its magical music box musings leading to an imperious outpouring of great lament that just bursts into intimate song.Declamations of striking atmosphere in ‘They Chattered Like Swallows’ and finally the echoing vibrations of desolation in ‘The Barn Owl Has Not Flown Away!’.A remarkable oasis of serenity and peace between the turbulence of the two Russian works on the programme

On an Overgrown Path is a cycle of fifteen piano pieces written by Leos Janacek and organized into two volumes.Janáček composed all his most important works for solo piano between 1900 and 1912.He probably began preparing his first series of Moravian folk melodies in 1900.At this time, the cycle had only six pieces, intended for harmonium : Our eveningsA blown-away leafThe Frýdek MadonnaGood night!The barn owl has not flown away! and a Piu mosso published after Janáček’s death.These melodies provided the basis for the first volume of On an Overgrown Path. Three of these compositions were first published in 1901 with the fifth volume of harmonium pieces, Slavic melodies, under the title On an overgrown path – three short compositions.By 1908 the cycle had grown to nine pieces, and was by then intended for piano instead of harmonium. The definitive version of the first book was published in 1911.On 30 September 1911, Janáček published the first piece of the second series in the Lidove novinynewspapers. The new series was created, in its entirety, around 1911.The complete second book was printed by the Hudební matice in 1942. The première of the work took place on 6 January 1905 at the “Besední dům” Hall in Brno.

Leos Janacek

The Nostalgia and Pain of Memory: Janáček’s On an Overgrown PathThe nationalism that hit the 19th century and carried through to the 20th century had a profound effect on music. Music that had been ignored for its folk-like character, or its non-urban nature, became the basis for new works that not only celebrated the folk sources but also the country itself.In Czech music history, three composers defined the nation: Smetena (1824-1884), =Dvorak (1841-1904), and Janacek (1854-1928). Janáček took inspiration from Moravian and other Slavic folk music to create his works, supported by his own research into the folklore and music of his country. Achieving international fame in his 60s with his opera Jenůfa, Janáček joined Smetana and Dvořák in symbolising Czech music.A piano cycle created starting around 1900, On an Overgrown Path, had a complicated birth. Seven pieces were originally written for harmonium, and five were published as Slavonic Melodies in 1901 and 1902. The remaining two pieces were set aside. In 1908, Janáček revised the work and wrote 3 more pieces, and made the 8 pieces into a cycle for piano. Two more pieces were added in 1911. That formed series I. Series II, which started with two new pieces, grew with the addition of the two pieces that had been set aside in 1902, forming nos. 1, 2, 3, 5 of Series II. No. 4 is just an ink sketch with some pencil revisions. Series II was published in 1942 after Janáček’s death and the 5 pieces do not have characteristic titles but only tempo indications.The title for the work, On an Overgrown Path, had been settled by 1901, but the titles of the individual movements changed before the publication of Series I in 1911. For example, No. 2, started out as ‘A Declaration of Love,’ was then changed to ‘A Love Song’ and finally became a much more mysterious title of ‘A Blown-Away Leaf’.Janáček described the work as having a double trajectory of ‘distant reminiscences’ of his childhood and reflection on the death of his 20-year-old daughter Olga in 1903.The first five parts of the cycle refer to his childhood: No. 1. Our Evenings, for evenings by the fireside; No. 3. Come with us!, for children’s games; and no. 4. The Madonna of Frydek, for a religious procession near his home village.As we get into the second part, emotion, rather than memory, has a place: no. 6. Words fail!, No. 8. Unutterable Anguish, and No. 9. In Tears.No. 7, Good Night!, was a metaphor for Olga’s death, while the last movement, No. 10. The Barn Owl Has Not Flown Away!, refers to the owl’s status as a foreteller of doom.Janáček’s change in the work from childhood memories to the tragedies of the grownup parent make this a unique statement of the human condition.

A transcendental performance of Agosti’s famous 1928 transcription of the ‘Firebird’.Victor threw himself into they fray from the very opening notes with breathtaking drive and scintillating virtuosity-a truly Infernal Dance! There were beautiful sounds of orchestral colour in the Berceuse with a kaleidoscope of colours appearing over the entire keyboard.But it was the ravishing beauty of the appearance of the Firebird in the finale that was truly breathtaking.The build up to the tumultuous final bars was astonishing as the excitement mounted to a frenzy of unbelievable virtuosity and exhilaration.

Stravinsky’s score for The Firebird was written for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes dance company, which premiered the work in Paris in 1910. Based on ancient Russian folk tales, it tells the story of the young Prince Ivan’s quest to find a legendary magic bird with fiery multi-coloured plumage. In the course of his adventures, he falls in love with a beautiful princess but has to fight off the evil sorcerer Katschei to eventually marry her. The suite presents the culminating scenes of the ballet in a piano transcription by the Italian pianist and pedagogue Guido Agosti (1901-1989), who studied with Ferruccio Busoni.

The Danse infernale depicts the brutal swarming and capture of Prince Ivan by Katschei’s monstrous underlings until Prince Ivan uses the magic feather given to him by the Firebird to cast a spell on his captors, making them dance until they drop from exhaustion. The Berceuse is a lullaby depicting the eerie scene of the slumbering assailants, leading to the Finale, a wedding celebration for Prince Ivan and his princess bride.Agosti’s piano transcription, completed in 1928, is a daunting technical challenge for the pianist. Most of the piano writing is laid out on on three staves in order to cover the multi-octave range of the keyboard that the pianist must patrol. The piano comes into its own in this transcription as a percussion instrument, to be played with the wild abandon with which a betrayed lover throws her ex-partner’s possessions off the balcony onto the street below.Judging from the shocking 7-octave-wide chord crash that opens the Dance infernale, Agosti captures well the bruising pace of the action, with off-beat rhythmic jabs standing out from a succession of punchy left-hand ostinati constantly nipping at the heels of the melody line. The accelerating pace as the sorcerer’s ghouls are made to dance ever more frantically is a major aerobic test for the pianist.

Relief comes in the Berceuse, which presents its own pianistic challenges, mainly those of finely sifting the overtones of vast chord structures surrounding the lonely tune singing out from the middle of the keyboard.The wedding celebration depicted in the Finale presents Stravinsky’s trademark habit of cycling hypnotically round the pitches enclosed within the interval of a perfect 5th. Just such a melody, swaddled in hushed tremolos, opens this final movement. It is a major challenge for the pianist to imitate the shimmering timbre of the orchestra’s brightest instruments as this theme is given its apotheosis to end the suite in a blaze of sonority that extends across the entire range of the keyboard.

Guido Agosti (11 August 1901 – 2 June 1989) was an Italian pianist and renowned for his yearly summer course in Siena frequented by all the major musicians of the age.It was on the express wish of Alfredo Casella that Agosti took over his class which he did for the next thirty years.Sounds heard in his studio have never been forgotten.

Guido Agosti being thanked by Ileana Ghione after a memorable concert and masterclasses in the theatre my wife and I had created together in Rome.

Agosti was born in Forli 1901. He studied piano with Ferruccio Busoni Bruno Mugellini and Filippo Ivaldiand earning his diploma at age 13. He studied counterpoint under Benvenuti and literature at Bologna University. He commenced his professional career as a pianist in 1921. Although he never entirely abandoned concert-giving, nerves made it difficult for him to appear on stage,and he concentrated on teaching. He taught piano at the Venice Conservatoire and at the Santa Cecilia Academy in Rome.In 1947 he was appointed Professor of piano at the Accademia Chigiana Siena .He also taught at Weimar and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.

In the Ghione Theatre in the early 80’s with Ileana Ghione,’Connie’Channon Douglass Marinsanti ,Lydia Agosti ,Cesare Marinsanti,Guido Agosti.A closely knit family .

His notable students include Maria Tipo,Yonty Solomon Leslie Howard,Hamish Milne,Martin Jones,Ian Munro,Dag Achat,Raymond Lewenthal,Ursula Oppens,Kun- Woo Paik,Peter Bithell.He made very few recordings; there is a recording of op 110 from the Ghione theatre in Rome together with his recording on his 80th birthday concert in Siena of Debussy preludes .

Pictures at an Exhibition is a suite of ten pieces (plus a recurring, varied Promenade) for piano by Modest Mussorgsky written in 1874.The suite is Mussorgsky’s most-famous piano composition, and has become a showpiece for virtuoso pianists based on pictures by the artist, architect, and designer Viktor Hartmann.It was probably in 1868 that Mussorgsky first met Hartmann, not long after the latter’s return to Russia from abroad. Both men were devoted to the cause of an intrinsically Russian art and quickly became friends. They likely met in the home of the influential critic Vladimir Stasov, who followed both of their careers with interest.Hartmann’s sudden death on 4 August 1873 from an aneurysm shook Mussorgsky along with others in Russia’s art world. The loss of the artist, aged only 39, plunged the composer into deep despair and Stasov helped to organize a memorial exhibition of over 400 Hartmann works in the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg in February and March 1874. Mussorgsky lent the exhibition the two pictures Hartmann had given him, and viewed the show in person. Later in June he was inspired to compose Pictures at an Exhibition, quickly completing the score in three weeks (2–22 June 1874).The work did not appear in print until 1886, five years after the composer’s death, when a not very reliable edition by the composer’s friend and colleague Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov was published. It was only in 1931, marking the 50th anniversary of the composer’s death, that it was published in a scholarly edition in agreement with his manuscript.

Victor gave a very impressive performance of a work that all too often is misused as a vehicle for empty virtuosity.That was not the case today as with scrupulous attention to detail Victor brought this work back into the realms of the great works of the piano repertoire as Richter had done in the 60’s,and Horowitz had done with his own inimitable rearrangements in the 40’s.The simple statement of the opening promenade led straight to the grotesque outburst of Gnomus depicting a little gnome, clumsily running with crooked legs.There were beautiful legato octaves in the meno mosso with a very impressive crescendo.The left hand trills were mere vibrations of sound leading to the final cry and transcendental outburst of a final scale passage played by Victor exactly as the composer asks ‘velocissimo con tutta forza.’A mysterious ethereal promenade leads to ‘The old castle’ played so delicately but with a rich sound palette with magical counterpoints and a gradual disappearance.A more decisive promenade leads to the Tuileries,an avenue in the garden near the Louvre, with a swarm of children and nurses.Played with an infectious lilt and playful asides thrown in with great nonchalance.Bydlo is obviously hanging next to it and depicts a Polish cart on enormous wheels, drawn by oxen.Never slackening its constant pace but building in volume to a very impressive climax as it comes into full view.Played with overpowering weight but never any hardening of tone only to die away to barely a whisper.I had never been aware until today in Victor’s knowledgeable hands of the two staccato notes in the melodic line that gave great character to this lumbering old cart.After such fatigue a promenade made in heaven led so peacefully to the audacious chatterings of the ‘Ballet of unhatched chicks’ which is based on Hartmann’s design for the ballet Trilby where the famous variation by Petipa for the male dancer in the Le Corsair from Gerber’s score shows a painting of dancers from the ballet in costume (as fledglings emerging from the shell).In Victors hands there was such a playful sense of fun that contrasted with the beautiful bass counterpoints,that he played so pointedly,in the middle section.The grandiloquent Samuel Goldenberg burst on to the scene with the gloriously reverberant beseeching of Schmuyle.The last Promenade was played this time with much vehemence as it led to the featherlight chatterings of the market place in Limoges depicting French women quarrelling violently in the market.A tour de force of repeated notes thrown off with great ease by Victor as it led to a startling climax interrupted by the mighty entry to the catacombs.Mussorgsky’s manuscript of “Catacombs” displays two pencilled notes, in Russian: “NB – Latin text: With the dead in a dead language” and, along the right margin, “Well may it be in Latin! The creative spirit of the dead Hartmann leads me towards the skulls, invokes them; the skulls begin to glow softly.”In fact it was just this magic glow that Victor was able to illuminate with such vibrating sounds of great delicacy with long held pedal notes of real beauty.Only to be interrupted by the ferocious Baba -Yaga where even Victor was taken aback as he threw himself into the whirlwind sounds of the chase.Only finding an oasis of peace in the middle section with a serene bass melody over a constant wave of vibrant sounds,the spell being broken ,though,by the cries of the witches flight.A tumultuous build up of double octaves suddenly was abruptly abated by the vision of the Great Gate of Kiev in all its majesty. Hartmann’s sketch was his design for city gates at Kiev in the ancient Russian massive style with a cupola shaped like a slavonic helmet.The beautiful colours of the plain chant were interrupted by the constant joyous pealing of bells.The build up to the last glorious outpouring was indeed very impressive .Victor perfectly judged the gradual build up with a tension that finally exploded with a cascade of scales leading to the sheer orchestral outpouring of glorious sounds with which he brought this ‘towering’ performance to a shattering end.A memorable performance that I ,for one,would be quite happy to listen to again.

Victor has been a prizewinner in several international
competitions. After winning the AntwerPiano International Competition in 2020, he was invited to take part in the 2021 Classic Piano International Competition in Dubai. Victor performed two solo rounds and three piano concertos for the jury comprising Vladimir Ovchinnikov, Michel Beroff, Pavel Gililov, Jan Jiracek
von Arnim, Ewa Poblocka and others, and received the Second Prize.Further successes include winning the First Prize at the 2nd
International Rachmaninoff Piano Competition (Moscow 2020), being Overall Prize Winner of the 47th Concertino Praga International Radio Competition for Young Musicians (2013), two-time winner of Concerto Competition (Royal College of Music, 2015, 2018), winning the First Prize at the Musicale dell’Adriatico piano competition (Ancona 2007), and the First Prize at the Nikolai Rubinstein International Piano Competition (Paris 2004).In 2021, Victor graduated from the Royal College of Music,London, having completed his Artist Diploma as a Carne Trust Junior Fellow, and previously having received his Masters of Performance with Distinction and his Bachelor of Music with a First class grade.

At the RCM, Victor studied piano with Professor Dmitri Alexeev and Head of Keyboard Professor Vanessa Latarche,and conducting with Toby Purser, Head of Conducting. Upon his graduation, Victor was announced as the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Rose Bowl for his achievements at the RCM, which was awarded to him by HRH Charles, The Prince of Wales in May 2022. Throughout his studies, Victor has been grateful for the support of the Ruth West Scholarship, the Eileen Rowe Musical Trust Award, the Future of Russia Scholarship, the Munster Trust Award, and the Talent Unlimited. Victor is the Keyboard Charitable Trust Artist, andthe Countess of Munster Trust Recital Scheme Artist.Victor began his studies at the Gnessin Moscow Special School of Music, where he was taught by his mother Olga Maslova. He later became a scholar of the Vladimir Spivakov International Charity Foundation. Victor also has received masterclasses from Sir András Schiff, Dmitry Bashkirov, Peter
Donohoe, Marios Papadopoulos, Tatiana Zelikman, and Leslie Howard.

Additional prizes include Fourth Prize at the Vladimir
Horowitz International Competition for Young Pianists (Kiev 2012), Second Prize at the Astana Piano Passion (Astana 2015), Second prize at Joan Chissell Schumann Prize (London 2019), Third prize at the 6th Umanitaria Societa Competition (Milan 2019), and the Second prize at the Kendall Taylor Beethoven Piano Competition 2021 (London 2021). He gave his concerto debut at the age of nine with the State Symphony Orchestra of Moscow and has since performed with
orchestras such as RCM Symphony, RCM Philharmonic, Symphonic Orchestra of Czech Radio, Astana Opera Symphonic Orchestra, Kostroma Symphonic Orchestra, Penza State Symphonic Orchestra, and the State Orchestra “New Russia”. Victor has given solo performances at international music festivals across the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Turkey, Switzerland,Russia, Israel, and the USA. Venues have included Royal Festival Hall, Queen
Elizabeth Hall, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Elgar Room at the Royal Albert Hall, Cadogan Hall, Great Hall of Moscow Conservatoire, Smetana Hall and Rudolfinum.

Victor in discussion after a recent concert with Dmitri Alexeev and Tatyana Sarkissova
‘Victor was phenomenal, powerful yet sensitive, with a rich spectrum and colour.A thrilling performance.’ Garo Keheyan Pharos Arts Foundation 


The Keyboard Charitable Trust’s mission is to help young
keyboard players reduce the element of chance in building a professional musical career. The Trust identifies the most talented young performers (aged 18-30) and assists their development by offering them opportunities to perform throughout the world. For the most gifted, this means débuts in London, New York, Mexico, Berlin, Rome and other music capitals.In collaboration with its partners worldwide, the Keyboard Trust has developed a circuit of some fifty venues in seven principal countries, from the most prestigious concert halls to locations where classical music is rarely heard. Over the past thirty years, the Trust has presented nearly 300 young international pianists, historic keyboard players and organists (aged 18-30) in over 900 concerts worldwide.

With such notable musicians as the late Claudio Abbado,
Alfred Brendel and Evgeny Kissin among its trustees, this formula has proved its worth: many Trust artists receive an offer of a new engagement, a broadcast, a recording or management. Nearly half of the artists have subsequently made serious professional musical careers.Recent years have seen a further expansion of the Trust’s
work in Germany, Italy and Russia as well as in the USA where the distinguished conductor, the late Lorin Maazel, invited the Trust to present its artists at his Festival Theatre in Virginia. In the UK, we have an ongoing collaboration with Manchester Camerata which provides concert performances in major Manchester venues each year.

Recent highlights include Alexander Gadjiev being made a
‘BBC New Generation Artist’ for 2019-2021 and winning the Sydney International Piano Competition 2021; Edward Leung being awarded the Philharmonia Orchestra’s 2021–2022 MMSF Piano Fellowship Thomas Kelly being selected as a finalist in the 2021 Leeds Piano Competition; and Yuanfan Yang winning First Prize in then 2022 Casagrande International Piano Competition.

The Keyboard Charitable Trust is funded entirely by
voluntary donations. Detailed information about the Trust, how to become a Friend, join the One Thousand Club or to provide corporate support, may be found on our website.


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