What a treat to have this great pianist at last in London.
Occasional performances with orchestra that last less than half an hour are not the same as two hours with a giant of our time.
His rather flamboyant appearance hides his technical mastery and a consideration for the students that played for him.He was such a refreshing change from the tyrannical goings on from the late Dmitri Bashkirov.
Thanks to Vanessa Latarche and Ian Jones that entice these great artists to London to share their secrets with the talented young musicians in their care.
Of course the greatest secret is not the most popular option for the young and beautiful .Work,work,work was also the same message that we heard yesterday from Angela Gheorghiu.
Curzon was famous for saying that music was 90% hard work and 10% talent.Serkin of course was the personification of this motto and woe betide anyone who did not think the same .
If only Thibaudet could have also been persuaded to play all the Debussy Preludes as he did for us in Rome recently.
What a revelation to find the secret of those opening few bars of Ancapri.Just flat fingers that barely touch the keys but that assumes you have ten wonderful trained fingers like steel and arms and wrists like rubber.Or the glissando in diminuendo in Feux d’artifice just allowing the hand to glide over the keys without any unnecessary gymnastics to compensate for fingers that aren’t both strong and flexible.
Firoze Madon was added to the list of students at the last minute and he gave a ravishing performance of Ravel’s Ondine .Thibaudet was happy to share some subtle ideas with a fellow artist.The long pedal at the end or the sudden change of dynamic with a cleanliness and purity that allowed him to rebuild the phrases and join chains together.
Peiyao Su played a beautifully clean and clear account of Ravel’s Alborada with astonishing double glissandi but steamy decadence and seductive beauty were not part of her world.
Xindi Zhu played three Debussy Preludes with great precision and musicality but the blinding sunlight of Anacapri,the tongue in cheek poking fun at General Lavine or even the Marseillaise heard in the distance through a haze of smoke she could not possibly be expected to understand.