McLachlan – Blazquez for Talent Unlimited at St James’s Piccadilly

Programme Callum McLachlan:

Schumann – Arabesque op 18
Rachmaninov– Etude Tableaux op 39 N. 3 in F# Minor
Chopin – Barcarolle op 60
Shostakovich – Prelude and Fugue in D Minor op 87 N.24

Programme Juanjo Blázquez:

-Gounod/Blázquez Duo de Marguerite and Faust
-Schubert/Liszt Gretchem am Spinnrade, Erlkönig
-Dukas/Staub l’apprenti sorcier
Presented by Talent unlimited.

What a feast of music in one of London’s most secluded churches just a stone’s throw from Piccadilly Circus.All those that had taken the time off to sit and marvel at two young artists united under the banner of Canan Maxton who with her ‘Talent Unlimited’ is the unstoppable promoter of young musicians,left enriched and enlightened ,as they returned to the bustle of the world outside.

From the very first notes of the Schumann Arabesque it was obvious we were in the presence of a young artist of a rare sensibility with something very important to say.The kaleidoscope of sounds and ravishing colours from Callum McLachlan allowed this little gem to shine and gleam as it rarely does in lesser hands.A very subtle flexibility allowed the music to speak with a voice where every note had a significance while showing us the overall shape of this miniature tone poem.

It was the same subtle beauty that Juanjo bought to the duet from Gounod’s Faust.Such subtle colour and ravishing sense of balance brought this transciption vividly to life .But it was the Liszt transcriptions of Schubert’s Gretchen and the mighty Erlkonig that was breathtaking in its refined beauty and passionate outpouring of sumptuous sounds.No matter how many notes were spread over the keyboard Juanjo’s sense of colour and shape never allowed the music to become hard or ungrateful.It was instead the sumptuous sounds of a truly ‘Grand’ piano in the sensitive hands of a refined artist.
It was the same sensitivity that Callum had brought to Chopin’s great outpouring of song with his Barcarolle op 60.From the gentle opening with a melodic line played with such beautiful legato,the continuous gentle lapping of the left hand following so attentively but never overpowering.A fluidity of sound with a luminosity that in the beautiful central episode reached truly sublime heights .It led to the climax of passion and glory only to die to a whisper before the final four chords that mirrored the opening chord that had opened the gate to Chopin’s wondrous lagoon.
The technical wizardry and sense of character that Juanjo brought to Dukas ‘Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ was breathtaking in it’s total conviction and technical mastery.All at the service of a story that held us mesmerised by this young magician.
It was the same magic that Callum had brought to the Shostakovich Prelude and Fugue in D minor.A monumental work that from the whispered opening could be transformed into a climax of such grandeur and pyrotechnical authority,it made one realise what a genius Shostakovich truly was.
Often saturated by complete performances it was refreshing to hear this monumental work given the space it truly deserves on its own.
Two artists of great stature still only in their twenties both having dedicated their youth to their art.Something that is never mentioned in the mass media that only spreads the word of evil and ugliness in the world .But there is another much better world of beauty and dedication for all those with the ears to hear it.

Callum McLachlan was finalist of The 18th International Robert Schumann Competition Zwickau and Semi-Finalist of the XX Santander International Piano Competition Paloma O’ Shea, Callum Mclachlan, 23, has been described as ‘A born Schumann player’ with a ‘magical sense of colour and extraordinary technical prowess’ (July 2019, London recital). Born into a family of musicians, he first started piano lessons with his father at the age of 7, and entered Chetham’s School of Music at age 11, where he studied with Russian pianist and pedagogue Dina Parakhina. He was awarded the highest diploma from Trinity College – the FTCL, in his final year. He studied under Professor Claudius Tanski for Bachelors at the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg.He is now studying for Masters with Professor Claudio Martinez Mehner in Cologne Hochschule fur Musik and Prof. Jacques Rouvier in the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg.He has performed at many of the most important concert venues throughout the UK, Europe, and USA, including Laeiszhalle Hamburg, Wien Konzerthaus, Pereda Hall Santander, London’s Steinway Hall and Manchester’s Bridgewater and Stoller Hall. Recently he performed with the renowned ensemble Casals Quartet. .In 2021, he was a Hattori Foundation 2021 Senior Finalist and receives generous support. He has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, works of Benjamin Britten in Steinway Hall London, Liszt’s 2nd Piano Concerto with Paul Mann and CSO at RNCM Concert Hall, which he recently repeated at the Turner Sims Concert Hall in Southampton in March 2020 and Mozart Sonatas for Piano and Violin at The Bridgewater HallHe has also had much success in competitions throughout the UK, winning 1st prize in the Welsh International Piano Competition (U19), The Scottish International Youth prize, as well as reaching the national finals of the EPTA piano competition.Most recently, he made a recording of Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata at the Universitat Mozarteum Salzburg, in collaboration with G. Henle Verlag for Beethoven 250. He made his New York recital debut in 2019, performing works of Brahms and Percy Grainger, an eclectic recital programme he performed at the newly opened Stoller Hall in Manchester, to critical acclaim. In his first year of studies at the Mozarteum, he was personally invited by Pascal Nemirowski to perform in the Young Artist Series in the RBC Birmingham Piano Festival

Juanjo Blazquez was born in Lorca (Spain) in 1998, he began his piano studies at the “Narciso Yepes” Professional Conservatory of Lorca in 2006. He received his first lessons from professor Estrella Romero Jiménez and later from Antonio Agustín González Hidalgo and Helena Ayala Gea. He has performed concerts in Spain and UK, and the ALTI Hall in Kyoto. Juanjo recently performed as a soloist Tchaikovsky’s 1st Piano Concerto at Madrid’s National Auditorium with the María Rodrigo Symphony OrchestraHe has received masterclasses from teachers such as Lilya Zilberstein, Anna Malikova, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Stephen Hugh, Claudio Martínez-Mehner, Ashley Wass and Nino Kereselidze among others.Juanjo has won prizes in national and international competitions such as the “Ciudad de Albacete”, the “Entre Cuerdas y Metales”, the “Almudena Cano” and “ClaMo” International competition. He is also recipient of the “FW Wright Piano Scholarship” endowed by the RNCM , and he was chosen to represent Spain in the “Kyoto International music students festival” in 2019, receiving outstanding reviews.He completed his piano studies at the Real Conservatorio Superior de Música de Madrid in 2020, under the guidance of Ana Guijarro, having previously studied with Pilar Bilbao Iturburu. He continued his Master’s studies at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester with Graham Scott and Kathryn Stott.


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