Tuesday 16 May 3.00 pm
Schnabel famously said that Mozart was too easy for children but too difficult for adults.It was this that passed through my thoughts as I listened to this extraordinary young artist where everything seemed so natural and simple.Playing of clarity,radiance and intelligence bringing the scores to life with an inner fire and conviction that I have not experienced since Serkin.A technical mastery and control that is so complete that it never draws attention to itself .Placed at the service of the composer with integrity and honesty.Last year we were astonished by Daniel’s virtuoso performance of Schumann’s notoriously difficult Toccata op 7.It was placed in between the seemingly innocent Beethoven Sonata op 54 which is in practice one of the most notoriously difficult and it’s twin the ‘Appassionata’ op 57.
Today we were treated to three classical Masterworks by Bach,Mozart and Beethoven where the authority,simplicity and even the sound reminded me of Yefim Bronfman one of the great musicians of our time.It is refreshing too to see a young pianist leaving the much overplayed Russian school and concentrating more on the classical repertoire where it is more quality than quantity that counts.
The Hungarian school of playing inspired by Liszt has in fact produced some of the finest musicians before the public as Daniel made us aware of too today.Perfecting his studies with Pascal Nemirovski in London and Birmingham I remember in a Beethoven Sonata Marathon on this very piano there were many pianists taking part from the remarkable class of Nemirovski.
A school where the start of an interpretation is with scrupulous attention to the composers wishes as written in the score.Of course style and personality are what make the stale notes on a page come to life.Every pianist sees the notes through his own kaleidoscope formed by a very personal vision of good taste and reasoning from the world that surrounds him.
Although each of the Partitas was published separately under the name Clavier – Ubung (Keyboard Practice), they were subsequently collected into a single volume in 1731 with the same name, which Bach himself chose to label his Opus 1.Unlike the earlier sets of suites, Bach originally intended to publish seven Partitas, advertising in the spring of 1730 upon the publication of the fifth Partita that the promised collected volume would contain two more such pieces. The plan was then revised to include a total of eight works: six Partitas in Part I (1731) and two larger works in Part II (1735), the Italian Concerto BWV 971, and the Overture in the French style BWV 831 which is an eleven-movement partita, the largest such keyboard work Bach ever composed, and may in fact be the elusive “seventh partita” mentioned in 1730. The Overture in the French style was originally written in C minor, but was transposed a half step down for publication to complete Bach’s ingenious tonal scheme.
The Piano Sonata No. 12 in F major K.332 was published in 1784 along with the Sonata n.10 in C major K.330 and n.11 K. 331.Mozart wrote these sonatas either while visiting Munich in 1781, or during his first two years in Vienna.Some believe, however that Mozart wrote this and the other sonatas during a summer 1783 visit to Salzburg made for the purpose of introducing his wife, Constanze to his father, Leopold .All three sonatas were published in Vienna in 1784 as Mozart’s Op. 6
Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major Op. 53, known as the Waldstein, is one of the three most notable sonatas of Beethoven’s middle period ,the other two being the Appassionata op 57 ,and Les Adieux op 81a.Completed in summer 1804 and surpassing Beethoven’s previous piano sonatas in its scope, the Waldstein is a key early work of Beethoven’s “Heroic” decade (1803–1812).The sonata’s name derives from Beethoven’s dedication to his close friend and patron Count Ferdinand Ernst Gabriel con Waldstein, member of Bohemian noble Waldstein family.It is also known as L’Aurora (The Dawn) in Italian, for the sonority of the opening chords of the third movement, thought to conjure an image of daybreak.
In 2014 Daniel Lebhardt won 1st Prize at the Young Concert Artists International auditions in Paris and New York. A year later he was invited to record music by Bartók for Decca and in 2016 won the “Geoffrey Tozer Most Promising Pianist” prize at the Sydney International Competition. In 2018 he has been signed for commercial management by Askonas Holt. March 2020 saw Daniel make his debut with The Hallé, performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 5 – a work he has also performed at the Barbican, London and Symphony Hall, Birmingham. The last two concert seasons have also witnessed recital debuts in Dublin and Kiev, and at the Lucerne International, Tallinn International and Miami International Piano festivals. He has received reinvitations to Wigmore Hall, London, the Auditorium du Louvre, Paris and Merkin Concert Hall in New York (‘He brought narrative sweep and youthful abandon to [Liszt’s B minor Sonata], along with power, poetry and formidable technique’ – The New York Times). Other recent highlights include a return to Paris for a recital at L’Église Saint-Germain-des-Près, as part of the festival ‘Un week-end à l’Est’; an appearance as soloist in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 21 at the Royal Festival Hall, London; and tours in China, South America and the USA. ?Born in Hungary, Daniel studied at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest with István Gulyás and Gyöngyi Keveházi, then with Pascal Nemirovski at the Royal Academy of Music and Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. He was a prizewinner at the Young Classical Artists Trust auditions in 2015 and currently lives in Birmingham.