Filip Michalak at St Mary’s ‘something old but oh so new in a great artists hands’

Tuesday 2 May 3.00 pm 

Exhilarating afternoon of wonderful playing ‘something old but something so new’ in the hands of an artist of his calibre.
Please take time to listen you will not regret it
Myra Hess with Bruno Walter in 1956

Songs from the shows indeed !But what a show with the simplicity of ‘Jesu Joy of man’s desiring’ with the strength of the tenor register giving such hope as it had done to Dame Myra in her ‘penny concerts ‘at the National Gallery during the air raids that raged in London during the war.In Filip’s hands immediately showed his credentials as an artist of refined aristocratic musicianship.Deep sonorous sounds of Busoni’s magical ‘Ich ruf zu dir , Herr Jesu Christ’ every bit a beautiful as the performances of the much lamented Nelson Freire.

Bursting into the sunlight with Mozart’s Rondo alla turca as beguiling in Filip’s crystalline hands as the pyrotechnical wizardry that has befallen it from the dazzling Fazil Say or Arcadi Volodos.What a revelation to hear the Mozart ‘Lacrimosa’ in a sumptuous heartrending transcription by Evgeny Sudbin,of a true believer .Magnificent full sounds of orchestral proportions where every strand in every chord had a special role to play.

There was a wonderful sense of balance in Liszt’s recreation of Schubert’s Standchen where the musical line was allowed to sing with such beauty as it duetted in magic harmony with the world.

A minute waltz that Filip almost completed in 55 seconds and luckily slowed himself down enough to give it ravishing shape without any ‘traditional’ messing with Chopin’s ‘tip toeing through the tulips!’The C sharp minor waltz had something of the refined elegance that Rubinstein used to bring to it with the slight hesitation of the reply to the opening deep sigh.An E flat nocturne that was played simply and with a fluidity of sound that was refreshingly innocent as it built to a climax and it’s feigned cadenza of shimmering beauty.

Straight into Liebestraum which took me by surprise as I did not recognise it at first until it burst into the sumptuous melodic outpouring that we are all too rarely treated to these days.And a dream that came true in Filip’s hands with the simple beauty of Schumann’s song without words.

The spell was broken by Pletnev’s Nutcracker.An ingenious transcription of doubly troubled genii!There was sumptuous beauty of the Rachmaninov Vocalise as it built to a climax as ravishing as anything the Philadelphia and Ormandy could have provided.

Filip was now diving into the depths of the piano into the Hall of the Mountain King.Again a piece so well known that one dares not play it in public for fear of a cliché,and is fast falling into oblivion.

The oblivion of Piazzola following on from the most famous waltz of Brahms.In the good old pre- television days the music would sit on the music stand in every respectable ‘front parlour’,between the two candelabra and the piano overlooked by the aspidistra and lace doilies.

The hysterical rhythmic drive of Liebertango worked its magic even in Perivale and was greeted by an ovation for our young Dane who impishly exclaimed that we had had all his encores already so that was that !

But there was still one more treat in store with a scintillatingly pure account of Scarlatti’s famous E major Sonata K.380.Unfortunatley it brought this wonderfully enjoyable survey of old ‘favourites’ to an end.A presto to the next sumptuous Danish sandwich..

The young Danish/Polish classical pianist, Filip Michalak is an active soloist and chamber musician. He has performed across Europe in countries such as Poland, Germany, England, France, Italy and all Scandinavian countries and has future engagements in more European countries, China and USA. Filip has won numerous prizes abroad and in his home country and has also been awarded prestigious scholarships for his studies. In 2021 he performed Beethoven’s 5th Piano Concerto with Shrewsbury Sinfonia. This year he is going to play Chopin’s 2nd Piano Concerto with a string quartet in Poland and few weeks after he will be performing Brahms’ 1st Piano Concerto in USA. Filip is also an active chamber musician playing with all different ensembles. Future engagements include a concert tour in China with violinist Kehan Zhang and performances with his duo partner Lovisa Huledal in Sweden and Denmark. He is the Artistic Director of Södertälje Chamber Music Festival in Sweden which had its first edition in 2019 and this summer it had its 3rd edition. He started his studies at The Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen in prof. Niklas Sivelövs class. Later on he received many scholarships to study abroad and for 3 years he was a student of prof. Julia Mustonen-Dahlkvist at Ingesund Musikhögskolan in Sweden and simultaneously he was pursuing his master-degree at Royal College of Music in Stockholm. Filip has finished his Post Graduate Diploma at Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester with prof. Graham Scott, and is currently being mentored by the world famous pianist Gabriela Montero.


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