The Adamas Ensemble at St James’s Piccadilly Wu-Lin -Durmanovic Trio

What better way to spend lunchtime than in the company of Beethoven in such intelligent and artistic hands.
With all the office workers scrambling for some street food in the market that surrounds St James’s Piccadilly.Little could they guess what real nourishment lay inside one of the most atmospheric churches in London.
The scene is set for a Hitchcock film but instead we got two of Beethoven’s most intense chamber works.
A pianist who spun a magic web on which the clarinet and cello were happy to wallow and converse
The clarinet trio played with a buoyancy and joie de vivre of the young Beethoven.The clarinet giving a living sheen to the sumptuous golden sounds from the piano and cello.
What a contrast with the late Beethoven cello sonata where the weight and dark introspection contrasted with the knotty twine of the final fugato.

The Piano Trio in B flat op 11 is in three movements :Allegro con brio – Adagio – Tema con variazioni:Allegretto. It was composed by Beethoven in 1797 and published in Vienna the next year It is one of a series of early chamber works , many involving woodwind instruments because of their popularity and novelty at the time. The trio is scored for piano,clarinet (or violin ) and cello (sometimes replaced by bassoon ).

The key of B flat was probably chosen to facilitate fast passages in the B-flat clarinet, which had not yet benefited from the development of modern key systems.The work is also sometimes known by the nickname “Gassenhauer Trio”. This arose from its third movement which contains nine variations on a theme from the then popular dramma giocoso L’amor marinaro ossia Il corsaro (15 October 1797, Wiener Hoftheater )by Joseph Weigl. This particular melody, “Pria ch’io l’impegno” (“Before I go to work”), was so popular it could be heard in many of Vienna’s lanes (“Gasse” in German). A “Gassenhauer” usually denotes a (normally simple) tune that many people (in the Gassen) have taken up and sing or whistle for themselves, the tune as such having become rather independent from its compositional origins.

There was such scintillating charm in the first movement with the clarinet and cello answering the piano with a superb sense of balance .The piano lid full up but with such a good driver Damir never overpowered his two colleagues.The clarinet sung out with such refined musicianship following the streams of golden notes that just flowed from pianists hands with a liquidity and shape that was ravishing.The clarinet never outdone met every challenge with the same shape and colour with the cello following every move so attentively.The cello taking centre stage with the Adagio playing with real beauty and grace.The middle episode was so beautiful with the piano lightly playing chords from the top to the bottom of the keyboard with the cello and clarinet conversing above this gently lapping accompaniment.The ending was of great beauty with all three playing as one as Beethoven whispers his final few notes.There was such joy in the finale where the players competed with each other in a series of stimulating variations.A virtuoso pianistic variation followed by solo cello,and clarinet.A syncopated variation where they had such fun trying to catch each other out before the tongue in cheek final pages where they came together with impish abandon.A trio that plays as one is a rare treat with music making created by players looking and listening to each other rather than being tied to the score.

L.van Beethoven Sonata for Cello and Piano No.5 in D-major, Op.102 No.2 Allegro con brio – Adagio con molto sentimento d’affetto -Attacca – Allegro – Allegro Fugato

The two sonatas op.102 were composed between May and December 1815 During the period 1812 to 1817 Beethoven, ailing and overcome by all sorts of difficulties, experienced a period of literal and figurative silence as his deafness became overwhelmingly profound and his productivity diminished.Following seven years after the A Major Sonata n.3 ,the complexity of their composition and their visionary character marks (which they share with the subsequently completed piano sonata op 101 ) the start of Beethoven’s ‘third period’A critic of the time said:’They elicit the most unexpected and unusual reactions, not only by their form but by the use of the piano as well…We have never been able to warm up to the two sonatas; but these compositions are perhaps a necessary link in the chain of Beethoven’s works in order to lead us there where the steady hand of the maestro wanted to lead us.’

Beethoven’s last cello sonata was played as equal partners with the cello and piano in furious exchanges of great rhythmic drive followed by contrasting melodic passages of searing beauty.There was great clarity from the piano contrasting with the sumptuous velvety sounds from the cello.The Adagio was a continuous flow of great depth and vision played as the composer himself asks:con molto sentimento d’affetto.Leading to the gentle suggestion of the fugue from the cello taken up immediately by the piano in a musical puzzle that Beethoven like Bach was to bring to a climax towards the end of his life .Beethoven of course with the mighty fugue of the Hammerklavier or Diabelli and Bach with the genial mathematics of the Art of fugue.A mastery that was to be shared towards the end of their lives and makes one wonder where it might have led them in an after life?Bach just got so far and stopped.Beethoven toyed with the fugue and the variation right to the end.In this final cello sonata the knotty twine of the fugue was played by both players with a clarity and intensity that was remarkable not only for its precision but for its inner energy and architectural shape

Hariet Wu obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Hariet was privileged to be under the tutelage of Anthony Pay, Michael Harris, and Mark O’brien during her time studying at RBC.
Born in Taipei, Taiwan. Hariet was invited to join Steven Barta’s clarinet workshop (professor of Peabody Conservatory & principal clarinet at Baltimore Symphony orchestra) and was awarded a full scholarship by Wayland University (TX, USA) to study music in clarinet performance prior to her studies in the UK. Hariet was invited to perform as a guest performer at the 2005 Birmingham Chamber Music Festival. She has been playing in the Moment Musical Chamber Orchestra (Taiwan) since 2006. Hariet has been an active music festival and concert organiser during her time in Taiwan. She is also an experienced music educator and researcher. Her Master’s research topic focused on the correlations between instrumental practice and the enhancement of neurophysiological, mental, and social enhancement. She is currently researching the topic of music psychology: the behavioural changes induced by musical training.

Melody Lin (Cello) is dedicated to the insightful, sensitive and enthusiastic performance of both solo and chamber music. She was awarded a fully-funded scholarship to attend Trinity Laban Conservatoire for an MA degree and has completed a funded Bachelor’s degree from the Royal College of Music. She has studied under internationally recognised musicians including Richard Lester, Michael Reynolds, and Ling-Yi Ouyang. Melody’s recent solo recitals include the Royal Society of Musicians, St-Martin-in-the-fields, Wolfson College of Cambridge University, St James’s Piccadilly and the London Cello Society “Go Cello!” opening concert. Melody has been awarded a joint winner at the Vera Kantrovich Competition. She was the winner of the Leonard Smith & Felicity Young Duo Competition in 2018. Her chamber projects include the Mellanie Piano Trio, supported by the Concordia Foundation and the Melart Duo, with pianist Artur Haftman, supported by the Polish Music Society and toured Poland in 2016.Melody was a member of the 2019 Southbank Sinfonia, and currently freelancing amongst professional orchestras, including Bournemouth Symphony and a trial position with The Hallé. She plays on a cello by the Klotz family from the late 18th century, generously supported by professor Derek Aviss.

Damir Durmanovic (Piano).As an internationally sought-after performer, Damir Durmanovic has performed in venues and festivals including the Wigmore Hall, Champs Hill Studios, YPF Festival Amsterdam, Wimbledon Music Festival, Renia Sofia Audotorium Madrid, Gstaad Menuhin Festival, Derby Multifaith Center, Flusserei Flums, ‘Ballenlager’ Vaduz. He has won prizes in numerous international competitions including The Beethoven Intercollegiate Junior Competition in London, Adilia Alieva International Piano Competition in Geneva and Isidor Bajic International Piano Competition in Novi Sad.He has performed in masterclasses with Claudio Martinez-Mehner, Dmitri Bashkirov, Pascal Devoyon, Jacques Rouvier, Robert Levin, Jean-Bernard Pommier, Tatyana Sarkisova, and chamber ensembles such as the Emerson Quartet. Damir is also a scholar at the ‘Musikakademie Liechtestein’ and regularly participates in the courses organised by the academy.Damir began his studies at age of eight in his home country, Bosnia and Herzegovina, with Maja Azabagic before continuing his studies at the Yehudi Menuhin School where he studied with professor Marcel Baudet. In 2021 he released an album with the Ulysses Arts label.Damir is supported by the Keyboard Charitable Trust as well as the Talent Unlimited Scheme. He is a graduate from the Royal College of Music where he studied with Dmitri Alexeev.

Point and Counterpoint from 5th October 2021 to 25 August 2022




A personal chronicle from 5th October 2021 to 25th August 2022

by Christopher Axworthy, Keyboard Trust Co-Artistic Director and Trustee 

The new season opened on the 5th October with a celebration concert in the Cunard Hall in Trafalgar Square now the distinguished ‘Sala Brazil’ of the Brazilian Embassy.The 200th anniversary of Brazil and the 30th of the Keyboard Trust and a celebration concert of four star pianists from the KCT stable.George Fu played music by Nepomuceno and the Saudades do Brasil by Milhaud ;Simone Tavoni played Bachianas Brasileiras n 4 by Villa Lobos ;Thomas Kelly the Sonata n.1 by Mignone and Sasha Grynyuk the monumental Rudepoema by Villa Lobos.

George Fu – Thomas Kelly – Simone Tavoni – Sasha Grynyuk

On the 11th October Alexander Ullman gave another brilliant Wigmore Hall recital – his first was the KCT Prize winners concert a few years ago.Consolidating his highly acclaimed first CD.His second was issued recently of the Two Liszt Piano Concertos and the Sonata in B minor.

Alexander Ullman standing ovation in the Wigmore Hall

Nice to see a great review for the only British pianist to have won both major Liszt Competitions in Budapest (aged 20) and Utrecht (aged 26) Alexander Ullman a name to look out for

MIlda Daunoraite with Leslie Howard

The Keyboard Trust anxious to give performing possibilities to young musicians silenced by the pandemic were fortunate in having a new performing venue in London thanks to our administrator Richard Thomas who is the organist and music director of St Matthews Church in Ealing and on the 13th October two female artists were invited to perform in the Young Artist’s Series that was recorded for later streaming to a larger audience.Ivelina Krasteva from Bulgaria and Milda Daunoraite from Lithuania

Ivelina Krasteva with Elene Vorotko concert-for-the-keyboard-charitable-trust-youthful-charm-and-ease-at-the-service-of-music/

On the 20th October we were able to invite one of the finest Italian pianists of his generation to give a recital to a still limited audience at Steinway Hall.Giovanni Bertolazzi gave thrilling performances of the Liszt B minor Sonata (that he too has just recorded for Borgato pianos one of the longest and finest of Italian pianos) together with Rachmaninov 2nd Sonata (1931).

He performed the two Liszt Sonatas in Rome in the historic Teatro Torlonia on the 21st January in a partnership we have created with the Roma 3 University directed by Valerio Vicari.The artistic director who gives a platform to numerous aspiring young musicians and has even created an orchestra that has been active for the past 15 years.

Jonathan Ferrucci in the Harold Acton Library – Florence

On the 26th October Jonathan Ferrucci played the Goldberg Variations to an enthusiastic public in the Harold Acton Library in Florence as part of our collaboration with the director of the British Institute,Simon Gammell jonathan-ferrucci-the-return-of-a-warrior-the-goldberg-variations-in-florence/

Mozart K.453 in Teatro di Villa Torlonia – Rome

He will perform the Goldberg Variations in New York on the 15 th October in the long postponed American tour that has recommenced after the pandemic interruption.Jonathan went on to play together with Pietro Fresa two Mozart Piano Concertos with the Rome 3 Orchestra in Teatro Torlonia and in Rieti – a Papal city 60 km from Rome. mozart-triumphs-at-torlonia-with-jonathan-ferrucci-pietro-fresa-sieva-borzak/

On the 31st October Maxim Kinasov gave a recital in Adbaston St Michael and all Angels he had played for us on the 29th September in Steinway Hall.Pauline Savage writes:’I’d like to start by saying how much I enjoyed Maxim’s concert – not just the programme ,but the depth of feeling that came across in his performance.It was a memorable experience.Thank you again for the support of the Keyboard Trust, enabling us to hold concerts which would otherwise be right out of our league.’

Maxim Kinasov with Leslie Howard

Mariam Batsashvili

Mariam Batsashvili gave two recitals in Cottbus State Theatre on the 6th and 7th November John Gumbell writes:’One further aspect of the Cottbus experience that I omitted to report.  When we went back stage after the concert to meet and thank Mariam, Fernanda and I were accompanied by two Georgian singers from the theatre’s opera company who delighted in chatting with a compatriot in their native tongue.  While they were doing so, I couldn’t help noting the diminutive physical stature of all three of them, which made the power of Mariam’s delivery at the keyboard all the more astonishing.  We felt humbled and privileged to be in the presence of such a force of nature – a keyboard lioness indeed! – but one whose warmth of personality also shone through every note.’

Victor Braojos with Elena Vorotko

On the 11th November Victor Braojos played at Steinway Hall 2021/02/03/victor-braojos-at-steinway-hall-new-artists-series-for-the-keyboard-trust/ and later his lock down CD ‘Shreds of Light was presented by Elena Vorotko and Martin Roscoe

In Steinway Hall on the 17 November Emanuil Ivanov was invited to play as his KCT Career prize for the top prize winner of the Busoni Competition in Bolzano 2019. Noretta Conci has played an important part since it inception in 1949.

Emanuil talking with John Leech and Noretta Conci

Jae Hong Park

On the 12th October the 2021 Busoni winner will play in Steinway Hall as winner of the KCT Career Prize Jae Hong Park

On 27th November the Annual Liszt Competition chaired by Leslie Howard with a recital by the extraordinary 2019 winner Minkyu Kim and the announcement of the 2021 winner Anastasia Tionadewi.2020 was the year of the pandemic and it was thanks to the generosity of Dr Hugh Mather and his team that the competition could continue with public at the prize winning venue of St Mary’s Perivale .

Shunta Morimoto with Dr Hugh Mather

A last minute indisposition of Giovanni Bertolazzi brought us Shunta Morimoto at our annual appointment at the Tuscia University in Rome – Shunta went on to win the much coveted Hastings Competition 2022- (Thomas Kelly was a close second)

Our annual recital in Vicenza for the indomitable Maria Antonietta Sguelia was given by Jonathan Ferrucci at the Teatro Comunale on the 20th January http://

Giovanni Bertolazzi with Guido Barbieri

The 21st saw Giovanni Bertolazzi in Rome in the historic Teatro Torlonia -the two Liszt Sonatas introduced by the distinguished critic and broadcaster Guido Barbieri http://

Alberto Chines also played in our series with Roma 3 University on the 23 January http://

On the 27 January Simone Tavoni played at the British Institute in Florence and went on to complete our Northern Italy tour in Venice and Padua 2022/01/27/simone-tavoni-triumphs-on-the-italian-tour-for-the-keyboard-trust-part-1-florence/

Elia Cecino with Murray Perahia at the Henle Masterclasses in Germany

On the 9th February Elia Cecino gave a recital in Steinway Hall.Only 21 years old is already making a name for himself in Italy and recently won first prize in the 28th New Orleans International Piano Competition in Louisiana.

Elia Cecino

He will be playing the Tchaikowsky Ist Concerto in the Ghione Theatre in Rome on the 16th October

Simon Gammell OBE with CrIstian Sandrin

On the 24th February two events one in Florence with CrIstian Sandrin playing the Beethoven Trilogy and Evelyne Beresowsky standing at very short notice for Alexander Ullman at the Danish Academy for Roma 3 University .

Valerio Vicari with Evelyne Beresowsky

Alex had been asked at very short notice to substitute for Elisabeth Leonskaya in the Grieg Piano Concerto in Brno.And what a a success she had – CrIstian too – a double for the KCT that day .

Alex Ullman with Evelyne Beresowsky

On the 2nd March Roman Korsyakov,the winner of the 2019 Hastings International Concerto Competition played for the Pharos Shoe Factory Arts Centre in Nicosia.His belated winners concert with the RPO at last took place November 2021 due to the Pandemic.

Yvonne Georgiadou,artistic director writes:’Roman is a superb pianist,and a lovely person.He performed a great programme consisting of Schumann’s Kreisleriana,Prokofiev’s First Sonata,the Tchaikovsky Sonata and Scriabin Preludes.He was amazing in everything he performed,not only technically but also stylistically-he started as a force of nature,in the explosive Prokofiev Sonata ,demonstrated his technical soundness in the contrasting pieces pieces of Kreisleriana,soulful tenderness in the Scriabin,and so much passion- yet clockwork precision- in the Grand Sonata .He gave the recital in a full house,and the appreciative audience (which included the ambassadors of the USA,Germany and Italy) called him back on stage for three encores- then we realised how wonderful he is in Scarlatti too!!He has so much personality in his playing,healthy confidence combined with humbleness.He is unique!’

Roman Korsyakov with the RPO in Cadogan Hall London

We are all shattered by what is happening now in Ukraine. Eastern Mediterranean has always been troubled with wars and bloodshed, and I admit that war always upsets me but I am extremely shocked by the international reaction against innocent Russian civilians, be it artists, athletes, even cats… As if it is their fault. The people of Cyprus treated Roman with respect and love, and he was extremely polite and intelligent towards people who asked him questions about the situation afterwards. He is generally an extremely friendly and fun guy, with lovable personality. I have no doubt that he will have a great career ahead – if he is presented with the opportunities he deserves. And we will of course be delighted to host him again to Cyprus in the future. concert-with-the-rpo-at-cadogan-hall-under-kevin-john-edusei/

Organised by our Sasha Grynyuk on the 11th March was one of the first concerts to create relief funds for Ukrainian refugees forced to flee their country because of the ambitious machinations of a despot – of course Roman was by the side of Sasha as were many other musicians

Sasha Grynyuk with Roman Korsyakov

His parents had fled Ukraine whilst bombs were flying taking with them a car full of worldly possessions as their son flew to Cracow to escort them to safety in the Oxford countryside.Anna Fedorova has organised at least 30 such concerts culminating in a special sold out Promenade concert

We were all very proud to,see such solidarity by our musicians and friends.In particular Dr Peter Barritt in Shrewsbury -‘Welcome to the Shrewsbury International Piano Recital website. Each year, we invite young international classical pianists to perform paid recitals to help their early careers. We have been greatly helped in this by the Keyboard Charitable Trust, particularly Christopher Axworthy, who represents this fine organisation that supports the most accomplished young classical pianists by arranging concert performances throughout the world.Dinara’s recital raised £1231 once matched. Pietro’s recital raised £2200 (£4,400 matched) and Nikita raised £2000 (£4000 matched)’

On the 9th March at Steinway Hall Andrea Molteni surprised us with a transcendental performance of Beethoven’s mighty Hammerklavier Sonata op 106 that was recorded for eventual streaming

St Matthews was again the venue for two young musicians series.This time for two Italian pianists Ilaria Cavalleri and Axel Trolese both recorded for eventual streaming on web site

Damir Durmanovic and Can Arisoy

On the 28th March we were back in the beautiful Sala Brazil with a celebration of Brazilian music with two brilliant ex Menuhin School pianists Can Arisoy and Damir Durmanovic

Elia Cecino

On the 9th April Elia Cecino stood in for an indisposed Can Arisoy at the historic Laeiszhalle in Hamburg .Sabina Oroshi writes:’The concert was great, such a success – the audience adored Elia. I hope he is as satisfied as we are, it was great working with him.

Laeiszhalle Hamburg

On the 10th April Nikita Lukinov played a benifit concert for Ukraine in Shrewsbury.He played a few days later in Perivale that I was able hear :

He and Giovanni Bertolazzi were invited to the Verbier Academy this summer where they also worked with the remarkable Kiril Gernstein http://

Nikita Lukinov with Giovanni Bertolazzi

Parvis Hejazi

On the 20th April Parvis Hejazi gave a recital at Steinway Hall that will be streamed at a later date.I was able to attend his later recital at the RCM

Thomas Kelly in Florence

Thomas Kelly gave a superb recital in Florence on the 21st April in our series in collaboration with then British Institute 2022/04/18/thomas-kelly-takes-florence-by-storm-music-al-british/

On the 22 April Damir Duramovic gave a highly successful recital at Cranleigh Arts with a very stimulating interval discussion with Stephen Dennison the artistic advisor

Nicola Losito

On the 13th May Nicola Losito played at the Orangery Castle Rheda .Inge Joskleigrewe writes :’It was a great pleasure for all of us to experience Nicolas’ great concert . His performance was really extraordinaire! And Moritz really found the absolute right words in his report.’  Moritz von Bredow wrote this report:

Pietro Fresa

On the 18th May Pietro Fresa gave a recital at Steinway Hall which will be streamed at a later date.He had recently played in Perivale: http://

On the 16th June George Fu stood in at the last minute for an indisposed Thomas Kelly at St Giles Cripplegate

George Fu introducing his programme

Luca Leone flew in from Italy on the 22nd June to play in Steinway Hall and with unexpected delays he arrived with only minutes to spare to ravish and charm us as only a true Latin can.

John Leech with Luca Lione

On the 27 June Jonathan Ferrucci played at St Jude’s Prom in Hampstead.The chairman John Clegg writes :’ On behalf of all of us at Proms, can I please ask you to pass on our warmest thanks to Jonathan Ferrucci for his wonderful lunchtime piano recital at this year’s festival.   It was a pleasure to meet him and his playing was much appreciated by the audience.  We are also hugely grateful to the Keyboard Charitable Trust for supporting the concert.’

Jonathan Ferrucci in recital in Perugia

I missed this concert but I did not miss the same concert in Perugia a few days later in his mentor Angela Hewitt’s festival.He was able to substitute for a Covid stricken Angela in Mozart’s K453 concerto.

Mozart K 453 in Perugia

On the 30th June Salvador Sanchez continued our series in Florence which will continue again on the 22nd September

Salvador Sanchez in Florence

On the 3rd July Simone Tavoni played his long postponed recital in Spoleto in Menotti’s House in the main square overlooking the Cathedral thanks to the collaboration with Umberto Jacopo Laureti

Menotti’s house in Spoleto

and another concert on the 25th August in France in a new festival :Un Piano sous Les Arbres.

Fabrice Fenoy
Maire de Lunel-Viel
Directeur du festival Un piano sous les arbres

Simone writes:’The concert went really well with an encore and standing ovation at the end.I was really pleased by the atmosphere.There were around 150 people maybe 200 with people who remained outside because there were no tickets left but you could still hear out of the building.’

Thomas Kelly

On the 15th July Thomas Kelly played at the Deal Festival with a five star review in the Guardian

Charles Francis

On the 7th August Charles Francis gave a recital in Westminster Abbey .Sarah Biggs writes :’The Abbey was full – and the audience very appreciative and enthusiastic.  I tried to find Peter Holder at the end to thank him but missed him in the melee.  I am guessing at his email address but, if it’s incorrect, please could you thank him so much from all of us for hosting it so beautifully?  And thank YOU, too, for this extremely valuable and exciting experience for a young Keyboard Trust organist!  Charlie is only 20 years old – and he said he found the experience quite scary but hugely exhilarating and wonderful to play on the Abbey’s Rolls Royce of organs!  He asked me to pass on thanks to you for the opportunity – and a million thanks from all of us too ….’

Charles Francis with seated Angela Ransley,Noretta Conci and John Leech
Hao Zi Yoh

On the 11th August Hao Zi Yoh gave a recital for the Palermo Classica Festival an 11 pm concert in the intense Sicilian heat …….I had heard Hao Zi Yoh in Cranleigh a few weeks before

The presentation of the Gift of Music – a celebration of 30 years of the Keyboard Trust will take place at the National Liberal Club on the 13th September .It will be presented by the honorary patron Sir Antonio Pappano who will perform together with Leslie Howard and other artists from the Keyboard Trust illustrious roster including the recipient this year of the Weir Trust Award

Julian Trevelyan at St Mary’s A voyage of discovery to astonish and uplift

Tuesday 6 September 3.00 pm

A true voyage of discovery for this genial young musician with an insatiable curiosity and love of music.From a superb Hammerklavier and Diabelli in the past few years to the glittering honky tonk of that maverick Percy Grainger.
Mosolov had us searching in the archives to know about this futurist composer as opposed to ‘old school’Rachmaninov.
As Julian says things may change but the essential character is always the same.
From a French composer who could write the most honest picture of Spain,to a Spanish composer inspired by pictures of a Spanish artist.
After a deliciously Viennese sonata movement by Schubert – written in the last year of his short life Julian just entreated us,like in yoga,to carry on practicing but just release your mind.
Well we did not need much enticing with Grainger’s arrangement of songs from the first ever Afro American musical to touch Broadway where glissandi and much else abound
But is was the sumptuous sense of colour and true voyage of discovery that was so extraordinary .
To see the evolution of a sixteen year old outsider who won top prize in one of the most prestigious International competitions.To his literally letting his hair down as he entered Oxford only to leave early to go to find true freedom in Paris .
Every so often he comes back to this Mecca in Perivale to open up our ears and enrich our spirit as this true renaissance boy turns into a genial young artist of great stature.
An astonishing recital and cannot wait to hear what the next visit brings us.

Debussy: ‘Poissons d’Or’ from Images Book 2

Mosolov Sonata in B minor ‘From old notebooks’ Op 4 – 1st movt

Alexander Vasilyevich Mosolov 29 July] 1900 – 11 July 1973 was a composer of the early Soviet era, known best for his early futurist piano sonatas orchestral episodes, and vocal music.He studied at the Moscow Conservatory and achieved his greatest fame in the Soviet Union and around the world for his 1926 composition,Iron Foundry.Later conflicts with Soviet authorities led to his expulsion from the Composers’ Union in 1936 and imprisonment in the Gulag in 1937.Born in Kiev in 1900, but moved with his family to Moscow three years later. When he was five, his father died, but his widowed mother, a professional singer who worked at the Bolshoi Theatre until 1905, was left comfortably well off. After her husband’s death, she married the painter and designer Michael W. Leblan (1875-1940). She cultivated a cosmopolitan outlook, and the young Alexander was brought up speaking French and German in addition to Russian. The family regularly visited the cultural capitals of western Europe, especially Paris, Berlin and London. During the October Revolution he volunteered to serve in the Red Army, but in 1921 he was medically discharged, suffering from what we would now call post-traumatic stress disorder. He then entered the Moscow Conservatoire and studied composition with Glière and Myaskovsky. In 1927 Prokofiev, who was then living in the West, returned for a concert tour of the Soviet Union. He became acquainted with the music of Mosolov, whom he praised as the most interesting of Russia’s new talents.

Rachmaninov Prelude in B minor Op 32 no 10

Rachmaninov Prelude in D major Op 23 no 4

Debussy: ‘La Soirée dans Grenade’ from Estampes

Granados: ‘The Maiden and the Nightingale’ from Goyescas

Schubert: Sonata in A major D 959 – 1st movt

Schumann: Romance in F sharp major Op 28 no 2

Grainger: In Dahomey

In Dahomey (Cakewalk Smasher) was inspired by tunes from an all-Negro musical comedy of the same name starring Bert Williams and George Walker, noted exponents of the cakewalk. The only known London performance of this comedy with music by Will Marion Cook occurred at the Shaftesbury Theatre on 16 May 1903 and one must assume that both Grainger and Rathbone were in the audience. Grainger’s jazzy romp quotes from the chorus of Cook’s Brown Skin Baby Mine and to this Grainger mixes a cakewalk piece by Arthur Pryor (a trombone soloist with Sousa’s band). It occupied Grainger for six years, with the final two notes being added in Aden harbour in June 1909. It is a concert rag of huge dimensions which ranges in character from gentle impressionism to wild abandon. Pryor was noted for his trombone glissandi or ‘licks’, here translated into their pianistic equivalents by a cataclysm of virtuosic tricks including glissandi of every known type. The inevitable combination of both tunes has been described as ‘a page of nearly Ivesian dissonance’; ‘encountering this work for the first time is like entering a time machine!’ Grainger conjures up the sounds of banjo, brass band and other instrumental colours of the period. He dedicated this ‘smasher’ to Rathbone with the enigmatic words: ‘For you have always been so good to it.’ The work remained in manuscript and was never seemingly offered for publication during Grainger’s lifetime. It was eventually published in 1987 some seventy-eight years after completion. A full history of the genesis of this piece can be found in the published edition (C F Peters, New York).

Julian Trevelyan is a British musician. In 2021 he won the Second, Audience and Mozart prizes at the Concours Géza Anda. In 2015 at the age of 16, he was the top prize winner, and youngest ever laureate at the Concours Marguerite Long. He has also won laureates at the CFRPM, Ile de France, Dudley, Dumortier and Kissinger competitions. He has studied at the École Normale Alfred Cortot with Rena Shereshevskaya, sponsored by Patrick Masure. From 2021 he is Rena’s assistant, and replaces her in lessons. He also studied composition there, and is composer in residence with Ensemble Dynamique. He is an Alumnus of the Lieven International Piano Foundation. He has also studied with Christopher Elton, Elizabeth Altman and Rita Wagner. He studied musicology at Oxford University, and has a degree in Geology. He leads a string quartet, plays historical instruments and is part of a mandarin a capella choir. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, cooking and sports. He currently lives in Paris and speaks four languages.

Sir Andras Schiff – Beethoven Trilogy at the Proms- The Genius of Man

I had not realised until today that Beethoven’s vision of paradise was so complete.
A continuous outpouring of whispered confessions that held six thousand people spellbound as Sir Andras Schiff took them on a journey of such beauty and wonder.
His superb sense of proportion and balance turned this percussive instrument that so frustrated Beethoven into the celestial sounds that the composer obviously had in his head .
It was Sir Andras Schiff who miraculously could convey this magic land to us today.He was simply the medium that transmitted the very essence of Beethoven.
We listened as one to a continuous outpouring of music that just flowed so miraculously and generously from his hands.

Beginning with the E major Prelude and Fugue Book 2 by Bach ,the scene had been set ,the air cleansed as the first notes of op 109 just floated in so magically.
This whispered performance allowed for such clarity and sense of orchestral colour.
Has the left hand of op 110 in the first movement ever been so clearly obvious or the inversion of the fugue like a distant star that gradually got closer and closer as like Scriabin it’s burning energy encompassed us so completely.The final scales in op 111 played like magic layers of sound that led to the final disintegration of a universe.
Nothing was forced or imposed as the music unfolded so naturally.In op 109 leggiermente and teneramente appear in Beethovens world with Sir Andras barely touching the keys but with a sense of line that allowed the music to flow like the air we breathe.
Even the Allegro vivace was played with such reticence and control as it gradually disintigrated before our very eyes with such magic sounds of controlled passion and sublime beauty floating always on a wave that was ever present but never invasive.
The Allegro ma non troppo breaking the spell but always within this cocoon that envelopes the sonata from the first to the last note.
There was passion too as the theme enters the realm of the gods but it was the bell like sounds above the ever meandering left hand that was so beautiful. It is interesting to note how faithful Sir Andras is in following Beethoven’s very precise pedal indications.These are streams of sound and not individual notes as the celestial trills lead us back to the simplicity of the theme.
This final time barely whispered as he put the Sonata to bed with the very gentlest of sighs.

Op 110 is the most mellifluous of the 32 Sonatas that traced Beethoven’s life adventure.
Sir Andras barely touching the keys but with his sense of balance and line so ingrained that the music unwound in a series of magical episodes.Pin pointing key notes in the florid passages as in fact Beethoven indicates.Notes that shone like hidden jewels where rays of light had brought them miraculously to life.It was here as I have said that this gentle way of approaching the sonatas allowed so many details to appear without any forcing .The left hand so clear with the right hand syncopation I have never heard so eloquent even from Agosti.His performance and rare live recording from the Ghione theatre in Rome was so similar in many ways to Sir Andras’s approach to this music.
Agosti was forever imploring his students with ‘troppo forte’ and placing his hand above the students hands to stop them producing percussive sounds.
The left hand conversation in the development was quite extraordinary for its eloquence as Beethoven has so clearly notated but is rarely played so convincingly as today.

Wilhelm Kempff in his old age was searching for the perfect legato and with such humility before the great music that he was transmitting.
Radu Lupu too from his debut at the Proms with the Emperor Concerto of truly imperial proportions and a Choral Fantasy that he happily filled in for orchestral members who did not know the score .But in his final years his deceptively Brahmsian bearing could produce the magic sounds that had Curzon exclaiming :Thank God I lived to hear that!
The treacherous trio section of the Allegro molto was played with such ease contrasting with the restrained vehemence of the Allegro.
The opening of the Adagio was almost matter of fact as it dissolved into the wondrous appearance of the Arioso dolente.There was absolute clarity of parts in the fugue but it was the magic at the end that took our breath away.The final majestic chord suddenly being transformed from E flat to D as the Arioso floated on chords that seemed like Beethoven’s own heartbeats.
The final three notes played staccato that contrasted so well with the long held pedal that brings us to the barely audible inversion of the fugue.
Sir Andras had said he only dared play these last two sonatas after his fiftieth year ,the very age when Beethoven could pen such wondrous sounds.
Op.111 was played very deliberately with great clarity.The development was played with such attention to the bass that it allowed the opening motive to appear so clearly in each voice.
The coda dissolved in such a simple way as the Adagio appeared with the same texture as the late quartets.Leading to the tumultuous third variation where for the first time Sir Andras seemed to exert himself as the music gradually dissolved to a murmur.
The simple,jewel like precision of the delicate meanderings on high were pure magic where a mere glimpse of the theme in the left hand was truly sublime.
Trills,streams of pure gold on which Beethoven can soar into the heights that were to await him after his final Missa Solemnis and Diabelli variations.Variations that like Bach’s Art of Fugue are a true testimony to the genius of man.

As Sir Andras so eloquently said: Bach is the Old Testament and Beethoven the New.
It is music with a message of humility and above all humanity.
Beethoven who had struggled all his tormented life had now seen a new and better world.
Just as Bach had written his B minor Mass as a message for posterity of beauty and peace on earth

Moritz Losito review

Nicola Losito played a masterful recital at our beautiful venue, the Orangery of castle Rheda, a week ago. 

Inge and Bernd Jostkleigrewe, our dear friends, had once again organised the entire events with incomparable love and care about any detail.

Having arrived a day before after an 11 hour journey, Nicola was able to practise at the Einstein-Gymnasium, the local grammar school’s Steinway B on Friday morning. In recognition of this opportunity, Nicola had agreed to performing for over 250 school children, explaining and talking about the works he played. The school director, Mr Jörg Droste, who also attended the recital in the evening, was very generous in allowing Nicola to practise, and the 50 minutes’ event was an unforgettable experience for the children and teachers alike. THANK YOU, dear Mr Droste! 

In the evening, Nicola Losito’s extraordinary recital took place:

A brand-new Steinway B with an astonishingly warm and even range of colours and sounds had been generously placed into the Orangery by the piano house ‘Micke’ from Münster in Westphalia.

The hall was sold out (about 175 seats), it was  once again a beneficiary charity recital for INNER WHEEL of Rheda-Wiedenbrück.   Inner Wheel, founded in January 1924 by Welsh nurse Margarette Golding, née Owen, was originally an organisation to promote friendship, service and understanding, open to wives of Rotary club members. Today, this women’s organisation has over 100,000 members in over 100 countries, working for people and institutions in need of support.

Nicola Losito, now 26, had studied with Maria Puxeddo (she died in January 2021, aged almost 96) as a child, later with Teresa Trevisan and Massimo Gon at the state conservatory Trieste. Over the period of four years, he had also studied with Arrau‘s student, Argentinian pianist Aquiles delle Vigne (he died at the beginning of this year, aged 75)  in Salzburg, Paris and Lucca. For many years recently, he had in addition been Leonid Margarius‘ student at the International piano Academy in Imola.

This impressive list of teachers has clearly added imprints to Nicola Losito‘s vast musical talent and on his capacity as a mature and utterly musical pianist.

The programme he performed consisted of two Beethoven sonatas in the first half, and music of the romantic era in the second.

Nicola Losito’s rendition of Beethoven’s Opus 27 number one and two was a clear demonstration of his ability to play the Viennaise classic repertoire in a most idiomatic and convincing manner. The scarce use of pedal, combined with his sharp sense of rhythm and metrum brought his interpretation to a very high level, and often I felt it was Arrau himself performing. Especially the tempo of the first movement of the E flat major sonata, often taken much too slow by too many pianists, was beautiful: andante (but written in Alla Breve!!) has to be moving ahead rather than tapping slowly and sleepingly. There is one recording of Walter Gieseking that demonstrates how it should really be performed. Nicola has fully understood this work and Beethoven’s intention. So this was beautiful, and the consistency of expression and beautiful choice of metre and  tempo added to his interpretation, also it’s beautiful rendition of the Moonlight Sonata. With his sound always singing and clear, never too hard and with no exaggerations in either slow or fast movements, the audience became very enthusiastic about Nicola’s Beethoven, and rapturous applause closed the first half after about 30 minutes.

What followed in the second half was simply breathtaking: a Dante Sonata  which would have impressed you, dear Leslie, played in the most haunting way when it came to hell, and in the most celestial beauty as a contrast. Nicola’s technique is such that it allows him to play anything, and despite his slim figure and finely shaped hands, he can produce the most incredible sounds, as if a big orchestra were playing. Not once any banging of the piano occurred! 

A choice of four preludes and Etudes-Tableaux by Rachmaninov clearly demonstrated Margarius’ influence, no Ukrainian or Russian pianist could play this more convincingly than Nicola did.

Nicola Losito concluded his recital with a beautiful rendition of  the plum sugar fairy dance of Tchaikovsky‘s Nutcracker suite, transcribed by Mikhail Pletnev. The rhythmic sense was delightful, and one could imagine a whole ballet dancing and floating through the Orangery. The beautiful weather allowed the evening sunshine to shed warm colours on everyone. 

A masterful, breathtaking encore of Chopin’s study Opus 25 number 12, C Minor (with Chopin’s hidden Hommage to Bach subtly but clearly demonstrated by Nicola) concluded an evening that so many people had yearned to hear for over two years. It was an impressive, delightful and long awaited experience, and Nicola Losito deserves full marks.

A masterful pianist, a delightful, modest and highly educated personality, Nicola Losito represented the Keyboard Charitable Trust in a most dignified and noble manner – he should also be supported in the future, so I am advocating for him to be sent also to the United States and elsewhere whenever possible. BRAVISSIMO, CARO NICOLA!

I now want to thank Inge and Bernd Jostkleigrewe, our dear friends, who have long had a very close connection with our foundation, once initiated by their wonderful daughter Anne Jostkleigrewe, when she herself was working as a cultural attaché at the representation of the city of Hamburg in Berlin. Inge & Bernd have once again organised this recital, followed by a generous dinner invitation afterwards, with meticulous care and love for our work. THANK YOU, DEAR INGE AND BERND! 

With very much love and gratitude that I was once again given the opportunity to organise a recital for foundation. I hope we will be able to continue, although the pandemic is looming over autumn.

Much love to all of you,

Thomas Kelly at the Royal College of Music A star shining brightly

Great success for Thomas Kelly with his end of year Master’s recital that had been postponed from June because of illness .
A sumptuous performance of playing that is at last getting the recognition it deserves.
Beethoven’s Eroica Variations played with a relentless dynamic drive and a kaleidoscopic sense of colour.
If he just missed the grace and charm that Curzon could pinpoint so magnificently he certainly gave the variations a radiance and luminosity allied to a driving undercurrent of surging energy.
A fearless performance of great architectural shape where there were moments of sublime calm in between a storm that only a Serkin could have conjured up.
A Medtner Sonata op 38 played with such clarity and ravishing sounds.The opening so reminiscent of Schumann’s Humoreske but the return of this typically Russian nostalgic melody haunting us to the very end of a journey that had seen such marvels in the hands of a true master.
I have never been convinced by the work of Medtner who when I am asked who he is I can only reply:’Rachmaninov without the tunes!’
Today for the first time he was revealed as a master of colour,melody and architectural shape that kept me totally mesmerised.
The spell was soon broken with the savage attack that Thomas waged on us with the opening of Agosti’s Firebird.
I have heard Thomas play many times from that very first moment five years ago when he unexpectedly ran off with the Chissell Schumann prize.
It was the first occasion that this young student of the late Andrew Ball had emerged as a major talent to keep an eye on.
This today was a pianist of an authority and unique musical personality that had been noted in Leeds and in Hastings but has now matured into a major talent ready to take the world by storm.
The phenomenal challenges that Agosti placed before us mortals in 1928 with the transcription of Stravinsky’s Firebird were taken by the scruff of the neck and played with a fearless abandon where the melodic line emerged amidst a barrage of technical hurdles.
It was,though,the musical line and overall energy that took us by storm in this very resonant hall .
Perhaps for Beethoven it had been too resonant and could have done with a much sparser use of pedal but here in Stravinsky it created an orchestra of overwhelming power and sumptuous sound .Has the opening of the finale ever sounded more radiant and seductive or the ending more savage?
An extraordinary performance of a man possessed and on his way to the heights.
Now studying with Dmitri Alexeev and Vanessa Latarche he will bring the same recognition to the College as the 17 year old John Lill who I heard give a sensational performance of Rachmaninov Third Piano Concerto on this very stage over fifty years ago .

John Lill’s sensational debut at the RCM
The Variations and Fugue for Piano in E♭ major, Op. 35 are a set of fifteen variations for solo piano were composed by Beethoven in 1802. They are commonly referred to as the Eroica Variations because a different set of variations on the same theme were used as the finale of his 3rd Symphony composed the following year.The theme was a favourite of Beethoven’s. He had used it in the finale of the ballet music he composed for ‘The Creatures of Prometheus’ (1801), as well as for the seventh of his 12 Contredanses, WoO 14 (1800-02), before being the subject of the variations of this work and of his later 3rd symphony .Beethoven opens the work not with the main theme, but the bass line to the main theme. He then follows with three variations of this bass line before finally stating the main theme.This approach was carried over from the ballet music, where it represented the gradual creation of life forms by Prometheus. and the variations in the Eroica Symphony follow this same pattern. In another departure from traditional variation form, after the fifteen variations of the main theme, Beethoven finishes the work with a finale consisting of a fugue followed by an Andante con moto.
The eight pieces of the first cycle of Forgotten Melodies op 38 are given a certain coherence as a group by a number of thematic cross-references, particularly to the cycle’s motto, the melodically memorable opening paragraph of the single-movement Sonata-Reminiscenza. The ‘recollection’ of the work’s title, perhaps Medtner’s reflection on his own difficult life and imminent departure from his homeland, is a melancholy one. After the exposition of the sonata’s two main subjects, rounded off by the motto theme, the development intensifies the mood of haunted anguish, culminating in two arpeggiate cries of despair. The prevailing gloom is only briefly lifted by a brighter new theme unexpectedly introduced into the recapitulation, after which the motto of recollection is heard once more, bringing the work to a pensive close.Nikolai Medtner (1880-1951) was utterly despised by the Russian community in Paris. Considered old guard and hopelessly out of touch with modern times, he was even facetiously called the “Russian Brahms.”He was though strongly supported by his friend, colleague and admirer Rachmaninoff, who writes, “The Futurists clamor for colour and atmosphere, and by dint of ignoring every rule of musical construction, they secure efforts as formless as fog, and hardly more enduring.” The comparison between Medtner and Brahms is actually misleading, as his music is closely related to Beethoven. And Medtner makes no secret of the fact that Beethoven is his hero, at least when it comes to writing piano sonatas. “The greatest representative of this form,” he writes, “Beethoven, conceived his sonatas as one song, which by the simplicity of its theme and its vertical correlation, from the beginning to the end of each of his works, illumined to us the whole complexity of his architectonic b and of his horizontal correlation.” During the years leading up to the 1917 Russian Revolution , Medtner lived at home with his parents. During this time Medtner fell in love with Anna Mikhaylovna Bratenskaya (1877–1965), a respected violinist and the young wife of his older brother Emil. Later, when World War I broke out, Emil was interned in Germany where he had been studying. He generously gave Anna the freedom to marry his brother. Medtner and Anna were married in 1918.Unlike his friend Rachmaninoff, Medtner did not leave Russia until well after the Revolution. Rachmaninoff secured Medtner a tour of the United States and Canada in 1924;Esteemed in England, he and Anna settled in London in 1936, modestly teaching, playing and composing to a strict daily routine.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, Medtner’s income from German publishers disappeared, and during this hardship ill-health became an increasing problem.
His devoted pupil Edna Iles gave him shelter in Warwickshire where he completed his Third Piano Concerto first performed in 1944 and in gratitude to his patron it is dedicated to the Maharajah of Mysore.
He died at his home in Golders Green in London on 13 November 1951,and is buried alongside his brother Emil in Hendon Cemetery.Anna died in 1965.
The transcription that Guido Agosti made in 1928 of three movements from Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite is dedicated to the memory of his teacher Busoni.In 1910 Stravinsky was a young, virtually unknown composer when Diaghilev recruited him to create works for the Ballets Russes; L’Oiseau de feu was the first such major project. The success of the ballet was the start of Stravinsky’s partnership with Diaghilev, which would subsequently produce further ballet productions until 1923, including Petrushka (1911) and The Rite of Spring (1913).It is based on the Russian fairy tales of the Firebird and the blessing and curse it possesses for its owner. Interesting to note the reaction of fellow composers and of Rachmaninov saying of the music: “Great God! What a work of genius this is! This is true Russia!”Another colleague, Claude Debussy, who later became an admirer took a more sober view of the score: “What do you expect? One has to start somewhere.”Richard Strauss told the composer in private conversation that he had made a “mistake” in beginning the piece pianissimo instead of astonishing the public with a “sudden crash.” Shortly thereafter he summed up to the press his experience of hearing The Firebird for the first time by saying, “it’s always interesting to hear one’s imitators.”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 starting with 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.
The whole musical world flocked to Agosti’s studio in Siena where for three months a year he would be an inspiration to generations of aspiring musicians.Sounds heard in his studio would never be forgotten or heard again.Too reserved to have the career of a travelling virtuoso he dedicated himself to a profound study of the true meaning hidden in scores .
He and his wife were great friends who often stayed with us in Sabaudia …….Our wives would spend the day on the beach whilst the Maestro and I would play Beethoven quartets and symphonies all day long preparing an evening after dinner concert that we were expected to produce for our wives delight!
Guido Agosti with Lydia Agosti and Ileana Ghione in the Teatro Ghione in Rome 1985

Misha Kaploukhii and Paul Fitzgibbon with Thomas Kelly

27/28 October RCM 7.30 Adrian Partington conductor
Misha Kaploukhii piano. RCM Concerto Competition Winner plays Liszt’s second and final piano concerto
RCM Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
Mark Biggins chorus director

Liszt Piano Concerto no 2 in A major S 125
Vaughan Williams A Sea Symphony

A recent five star review of the same performances a few weeks ago

13 th October RCM at 7.30 Amarylis Fleming Concert Hall

Sakari Oramo conductor
Thomas Kelly piano
RCM Symphony Orchestra

Beethoven Piano Concerto no 4 in G major op 58
Shostakovich Symphony no 10 in E minor op 93

Sakari Oramo, chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, directs an unmissable programme of repertoire played by the RCM Symphony Orchestra.

Rising star and RCM pianist Thomas Kelly takes centre stage for Beethoven’s Piano Concerto no 4 – widely considered the pinnacle of piano concerto repertoire. To add to a number of accolades, Thomas won second prize at the Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition in March and was also a finalist at the 2021 Leeds International Piano Competition. Supported by Her Serene Highness Princess Heidi von Hohenzollern HonRCM

Viv McLean at St Anne’s Kew a lesson in classical authority and sensual colour

Wonderful to be back in the church where I was married in 1984 and to hear a piano recital from a pianist highly esteemed by that connoisseur Hugh Mather of St Mary’s Perivale,but who I have never had the opportunity to hear until quite unexpectedly today.

Gainsborough’s tombstone
Thomas Gainsborough RA FRSA (14 May 1727 (baptised) – 2 August 1788) was an English portrait and landscape painter, draughtsman, and printmaker. Along with his rival Sir Joshua Reynolds,he is considered one of the most important British artists of the second half of the 18th century.

A church where Gainsborough and Zoffany are buried and where I remember hearing Shura Cherkassky play in the 70’s for the Richmond Concert Society.I was with Sidney Harrison and his wife on that occasion and they were proud to be present at my wedding together with the eminent violinist Jack Rothstein and his wife,the pianist Linn Hendry just a few years later.

Jack Rothstein with my wife

I had studied with Sidney Harrison as a schoolboy whilst at Chiswick Boys Grammar School when Sidney was a well known television personality as was his next door neighbour,Eamon Andrews.
The Harrison’s were so proud when my future wife invited them to visit our theatre in Rome and see what an adventure we had embarked on.
They were overjoyed when we told them that two months later we were to be married in Kew!

The Sidney Harrison’s and my wife Ileana Ghione

Today there were some very musicianly performances on a new Yamaha piano and although a change of programme brought us ‘Moonlight’ – in the bright sunlight as the pianist very spiritedly pointed out – it suited this short programme rather than the announced ‘Appassionata!’ Cesar Franck,after all,was given the just importance for the 200th anniversary of his birth.
‘Moonlight’was not Beethoven’s title but his publisher trying to make another sonata more sales worthy.
Beginning unusually with an Adagio and as Beethoven points out these two sonatas op 27 do break the standard Haydnesque model and are presented as Sonatas ‘quasi una fantasia’ .The start of an evolution that was to take us into the realms of the Gods at the end of Beethoven’s long journey to the final trilogy ending with op 111.
It was this sense of ‘fantasia’ that was missing today with playing of great solidity and clarity where Beethoven specifically indicates by tempo and pedal marking that the melodic line should shine above a shimmering accompaniment – hence obviously the title ‘Moonlight.’It was beautifully shaped and flowing though and Viv McLean is in the company of many illustrious musicians who choose a more classical approach.I do remember though,Andras Schiff’s opening gambit in a masterclass at the RCM where he told Pavel Kolesnikov “ now let’s forget this ‘moonlight’ thing”. The Allegretto was played with the same admirable classical musicianship but the fast tempo was rather breathless and devoid of charm and elegance.It was in the Presto agitato that the pianist came into his own with a drive and dynamic energy that was breathtaking and showed his unrelenting classical approach and seriousness in an often much abused work.

Viv McLean has a very impressive curriculum from when he won first prize in the much coveted Maria Canals International Piano Competition and it was his capacity to give such clarity and architectural shape to all he played that was quite remarkable.

It was just this architectural sense and scrupulous musicianship that held Cesar Franck’s Prelude Chorale and Fugue in one glorious whole.From the opening wave of sound on which the melodic line is allowed to emerge contrasting with declamations of romantic fervour.The magic arpeggiated sounds of the Chorale ever more intense leading to the absolute authority of the Fugue.Cesar Franck’s master stroke with the return of the opening theme after a sumptuous cadenza was played with passionate involvement.Never any trace of sentimentality but rather the same aristocratic sense of grandeur of Franck’s great organ of St Clotilde in Paris.

A celebration of the composer,pianist and accordionist Howard Skempton in his 75th year opened the programme with a magical account of his ‘Whispers’ commissioned by the Norfolk and Norwich music society in 2000.Deep resonant sounds on which the sound of bells were allowed to resonate and were played with a sense of colour creating a magical atmosphere of stillness and beauty.It was written in the same years that brought such titles as such as ‘Shadows’ and ‘Stroking the Keys’ from a composer who was new discovery for me.
It was the same ravishing beauty that he brought to the Chopin Nocturne op 72 in E minor that he offered as an encore. Here his classical approach and sense of colour combined to produce a memorable performance of ravishing beauty.

At Anne’s churchyard overlooking Kew Green
The tomb of Zoffany he died in his home at Strand-on-the-Green on 11 November 1810. Johan Joseph Zoffany, RA (born Johannes Josephus Zaufallij; 13 March 1733 – 11 November 1810)[1] was a German neoclassical painter who was active mainly in England, Italy and India.
My wedding photo on the steps of St Anne’s in 1984
Inside St Anne’s 28 July 1984
Viv McLean

Julian Jacobson and Cristian Sandrin – A life on the ocean waves – liberally speaking !

Hausmusik or the joy of making music together produced a magical evening at the National Liberal Club with Cristian Sandrin and Julian Jacobson.
Joining forces for an imminent cruise that will see them in six performances together whilst sailing from Southampton to Canada and finishing in New York.

Mozart’s late C major Sonata was played with the grace and charm that makes him if not the greatest composer certainly the most perfect -to use Julian’s own words .The Mozart Sonata K.521 was the last of his four hand sonatas and was dated May 29, 1787 just 4 years before his untimely death in in 1791,aged 35.On the same day in 1787 he also received word of his fathers death. Mozart then shared the sad news with his close friend Gottfried von Jacquin, a Viennese court official and amateur musician, and subsequently dedicated the sonata to Gottfried’s sister, Franziska von Jacquin.In Mozart’s letter to Gottfried, he noted that the sonata is “rather difficult” and therefore instructed Franziska to “tackle it at once”.Instead of Mozart’s original intention to dedicate it to Franziska von Jacquin, one of his most talented pupils, it was finally dedicated to Nanette and Barbette Natorp,daughters of Viennese businessman Franz Wilhelm Natorp.It was the absolute precision that they brought to this ‘rather difficult’ sonata that was remarkable for it rhythmic drive and absolute clarity.Cristian’s beautiful way of allowing the music to flow so naturally from his hands with his particular way of playing trills from above and Julian’s superb musicianship that created just the overall tonal palette that was both dramatic and elegant.The vehemence of the opening dissolving into the absolute charm of the following melodic outpouring.The melancholic beauty of the Andante and it’s overpowering central section were played with great intensity contrasting so well with the simple music box type recurrence of the rondo.It was played with a disarming simplicity and elegance as this already distinguished duo partnership were at one before such genius.

Grace and charm too in Debussy’s early Petite Suite composed between 1886 to 1889 and first performed on 2 February 1889 by Debussy and pianist-publisher Jacques Durand at a salon in Paris.It may have been written due to a request (possibly from Durand) for a piece that would be accessible to skilled amateurs, as its simplicity is in stark contrast with the modernist works that Debussy was writing at the time .In four movements En bateau (Sailing): Andantino ,Cortège (Retinue): Moderato ,both settings of poems from Fetes galante by Paul Verlaine.Followed by Menuet : Moderato,Ballet: Allegro giusto .It was orchestrated by Debussy’s colleague Henri Busser in 1907, and published by A Durand et Fils.If Julian could have been a little more generous with the pedal it would have allowed more fluidity of colour and contrast and would have added to his superb sense of architectural line and non sentimentality.The final ballet in particular was played with passionate involvement and joie de vivre that was to contrast so well with the imperious nature of the Wagner that immediately followed.

A monumental performance of the Meistersinger Prelude in the rare transcription by Tausig that Julian had found in the archives of the Royal College of Music.It was here that Julian took the helm and led the procession with Elgarian pomp and circumstance.Cristian allowing his feet full reign that gave such sumptuous full sounds to this enthralling unpublished transcription.Julian is not only a great pianist capable of playing all the Beethoven Sonatas in one marathon sitting without any trace of the score.He is also a remarkable musicologist ready to search and sift out masterpieces lost and long forgotten as they lie in the archives of the great institutions.

All change for Wagner

Schubert’s sublime F minor Fantasy opened the second half of this extraordinary musical journey.
What a remarkable work it is pointing the way for new paths for Liszt and Wagner and all that were to follow.Schubert began writing it in January 1828 in Vienna and was completed in March of that year, and first performed in May. Schubert’s friend Eduard von Bauernfeld recorded in his diary on May 9 that a memorable duet was played, by Schubert and Franz Lachner and was dedicated to Caroline Esterházy, with whom Schubert was in (unrequited) love.Schubert died in November of that year and after his death, his friends and family undertook to have a number of his works published. This work is one of those pieces; it was published by Anton Diabelli in March 1829.

The Fantasia is divided into four movements that are interconnected and played without a break: Allegro molto moderato- Largo-Scherzo. Allegro vivace-Finale. Allegro molto moderato.The basic idea of a fantasia with four connected movements also appears in Schubert’s Wanderer Fantasy, and represents a stylistic bridge between the traditional sonata form and the essentially free-form tone poem.The basic structure of the two fantasies is essentially the same: allegro, slow movement, scherzo, allegro with fugue.The form of this work, with its relatively tight structure (more so than the fantasias of Beethoven and Mozart), was influential on the work of Liszt who arranged the Wanderer Fantasy as a piano concerto, among other transcriptions he made of Schubert’s music.There were so many beautiful things in their interpretation but it was the overall architectural shape that was so remarkable.From the sublime beauty of the opening and the contrasts between the imperious and the ravishing in the slow movement.The elegance of the scherzo and the overpowering force of the fugue.All dissolving into the magic of the final few bars where one can only wallow and marvel in the genial invention of Schubert in his final few months on this earth.A continuous outpouring of melodic invention which Beethoven was to develop and take into the realms of the Gods in his silent world that awaited only thirty years later.

autograph in the Austrian National Library showing a portion of the secondo (left-side) part from the fourth movement

After such a sublime performance what more could one add?
Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue of course,the biggest money spinner of all time and still one of the best loved works in the entire crossover repertoire.

Gershwin had politely declined to compose any such work for Whiteman.In a telephone conversation the next morning, however,Gershwin was informed that Whiteman’s arch rival Vincent Lopez was planning to steal the idea of his experimental concert and there was no time to lose.Gershwin was thus finally persuaded to compose the piece.With only five weeks remaining until the premiere, Gershwin hurriedly set about composing the work.He later claimed that while on a train journey to Boston the thematic seeds for Rhapsody in Blue began to germinate in his mind: ‘It was on the train, with its steely rhythms, its rattle-ty bang, that is so often so stimulating to a composer…. I frequently hear music in the very heart of the noise. And there I suddenly heard—and even saw on paper—the complete construction of the rhapsody, from beginning to end. No new themes came to me, but I worked on the thematic material already in my mind and tried to conceive the composition as a whole. I heard it as a sort of musical kaleidoscope of America, of our vast melting pot of our unduplicated national pep, of our metropolitan madness. By the time I reached Boston I had a definite plot of the piece, as distinguished from its actual substance.Gershwin began composing on January 7 as dated on the original manuscript for two pianos.After a few weeks he finished his composition and passed the score, titled A Rhapsody in Blue, to Ferde Grofé,Whiteman’s arranger.Grofé finished orchestrating the piece on February 4—a mere eight days before the premiere.

Rhapsody in Blue premiered during a snowy afternoon on Tuesday, February 12, 1924, at Aeolian Hall,Manhattan entitled “An Experiment in Modern Music.”The much-anticipated concert held by Paul Whiteman and his Palais Royal Orchestra drew a packed audience consisting of concert managers come to have a look at the novelty, composers, symphony and opera stars and many influential figures of the era including Stravinsky,Stokowski,Kreisler,Damrosch and John Philip Sousa.Julian and Cristian gave a scintillating performance of teasing wit and beguiling style but also of grandiloquence and astonishing technical command.The start of a life on the ocean waves with hopefully calm seas will certainly be a prosperous voyage for all those lucky enough to share this adventure in music together as they had done with us today.

Not to be outdone,but also with great humility ,Julian presented his Palm Court Waltz ,dedicated to his friend Richard Rodney Bennet on hearing of his unexpected death in New York.Sir Richard Rodney Bennett CBE was an English composer of film, TV and concert music, and also a jazz pianist and occasional vocalist. He was based in New York City from 1979 until his death there in 2012.
A delicious pot pourri played with the charm and superb musicianship that had been the hallmark of a memorable wintry evening in August !

The indomitable Peter Whyte,chairman of the Kettner Society presenting the artists with a very special bottle of Rioja wine ……..Viña Bujanda Reserva 2017
Innovative, cutting-edge masters of their art, the Bujanda family don’t compromise on quality; it shows in their huge haul of awards. This is their lavish Reserva – two years in cask and one in bottle brings together intense fruit and toasty oak………..Sunday Times listed
Not asleep but listening intently to each other – the key mark of a superb duo partnership
Cristian Sandrin with Christopher Axworthy of the Keyboard Trust
The National Liberal Club – Whitehall Place
The extraordinary Yisha Xue and friend with flowers for fellow club member Cristian Sandrin
Anniversary celebration at the National Liberal Club on the 13 September with the presentation of the book ‘The Gift of Music’ written by John Leech,the 97 year old founder of the KCT.It will be presented by its honorary patron : Sir Antony Pappano who will perform together with Leslie Howard,Sasha Grynyuk,Michail Lifits,Chloe Jiyeong Mun,Jayson Gillham,Pablo Rossi,Vitaly Pisarenko in an evening of a celebration in music.

Rose McLachlan at St James Piccadilly -Je sens,je joue ,je trasmets -Artistry and Poetic imagination of a musician

Wednesday 24th August 2022, 1.10pm Lunchtime Recital Series
C. Debussy
Rose McLachlan – Piano
Preludes book 2

  1. Brouillards
  2. Feuilles mortes
  3. La puerta del Vino
  4. Les fées sont d’exquises danseuses 5. Bruyères
  5. Général Lavine
  6. La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune
  7. Ondine
  8. Hommage à S. Pickwick Esq. P.P.M.P.C.
  9. Canope
  10. Les tierces alternées
  11. Feux d’artifice
    Presented in association with Talent Unlimited

A Rose is always a Rose but what a Rose we heard today as Rose McLachlan standing in at short notice for her colleague Giulia Cotaldo she gave a sumptuous performance of Debussy’s elusive Preludes.It was Giulia who earlier in the season stood in for the indisposed Elisso Virsaladze ,playing Schumann’s Piano Concerto for the 100th Anniversary celebrations of the BBC Philharmonic.Who says there are so few superb women pianists!It was Rose’s continual circular body movements ,barely perceptible, that allowed her to shape without any ungrateful hardness ,the elusive,evocative,sumptuous and capriciously mischievous sounds that Debussy magically could depict on the piano
From the mysterious opening mists,the sumptuous desolate depiction of dead leaves or the sheer radiance of La Puerta Del Vino.The featherlight dancing fairies who almost were allowed to come into the open before the extraordinary goings on of General Lavine.
Has the moonlight ever shone so radiantly as in Roses hands today or the impish Ondine played as elegantly as I well remember Rubinstein beguiling us with the simple aristocratic magic that he could seduce his audiences with.
Poor Mr Pickwick Esq with Debussy poking fun but the last laugh was on him!Canope was Fou Ts’ong’s most cherished of the preludes for it’s depiction of solitude and desolation with so few notes.
Rose’s transcendental command of the keyboard but above all of the musical values allowed the double thirds to shimmer and flow from her magic fingers in a Prelude that was later to be developed into his last and for some greatest work for the piano the Etudes.
And fireworks there certainly were at the end with such magical sounds and amazing control of the keyboard allied to an imagination and sense of colour that had been so apparent in this superb performance.

Debussy’s Préludes are 24 pieces divided into two books of 12 preludes each. Unlike some notable collections of preludes such as Chopin’s op.28, or the preludes from Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, Debussy’s do not follow a strict pattern of tonal centres .Each book was written in a matter of months, at an unusually fast pace for Debussy. Book I was written between December 1909 and February 1910, and Book II between the last months of 1912 and early April 1913.An important precedent was set on 3 May 1911 by the pianist Jane Mortier who played the entire first book of preludes at the Salle Pleyel in Paris.The German-English pianist Walter Morse Rummel,a student of Godowsky , gave the premiere of the entire second book of preludes in 1913 in London.

Initially, Debussy and other pianists who gave early performances of the works (including Ricardo Vines)played them in groups of three or four preludes, which remains a popular approach today. This allows performers to choose preludes with which they have the strongest affinity, or those to which their individual interpretive gifts are most suited.The titles of the preludes are highly significant, both in terms of their descriptive quality and in the way they were placed in the written score. The titles are written at the end of each work,allowing the performer to experience each individual sound world without being influenced by Debussy’s titles beforehand.

Rose McLachlan
Born into a family of musicians in Cheshire, Rose began piano lessons with her father, Murray McLachlan, aged 7. Shortly after she entered Chetham’s School of Music, initially as a chorister but later studying piano with Helen Krizos.
She has performed in many venues across the UK, including The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, The Stoller Hall, St James Piccadilly and St Martin-in-the-Fields. With her family, Rose has given recital tours in Scotland, as well as performing the complete cycle of Beethoven piano concertos with her father and brothers, where she played the second concerto five times. She has also performed abroad, in Poland, Germany, Croatia and recently in America.
Rose is grateful to have played with orchestra on numerous occasions including; Ravel G Major Concerto with the Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mike Seal in 2018, and again in 2022 with the Haffner Orchestra conducted by Daniel Parkinson, Clara Schumann Concerto with the New Tyneside Orchestra conducted by Monica Buckland in 2019 and later that year, Shostakovich 2nd Concerto with the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Barry Wordsworth, which was broadcast twice on BBC Radio 3. In 2022, after winning the Young Artists Concerto Competition at the PianoTexas International Festival and Academy, Rose performed Chopin E minor Concerto with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra conducted by Peter Bay.
In 2016, Rose was the overall winner of the Scottish International Youth Prize at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and in 2017 was awarded the Yamaha Prize in the EPTA UK competition. She was the winner of the Beethoven Society of Europe Junior Intercollegiate competition in 2019 and also that year was awarded the overall prize in the 11th “Dora Pejacevich” competition. She has won the Chopin Prize at both Chetham’s and at the Royal Northern College of Music. In February 2022, Rose was awarded the Kirklees Young MusicianAward and in May won first prize in the Christopher Duke International Piano Competition.
2018 saw her first commercial recording being issued by Divine Art, performing ‘Five Hebridean Dances’ by John McLeod. In January 2020, Rose recorded piano duets by the distinguished British composer, Edward Gregson, with her father for a new commercial recording on the Naxos label.
Rose is passionate about playing with others, and works regularly with singers, recently performing Schumann Liederkreis in the Manchester Song Festival. She received a full bursary to study with Mary Bevan and Joseph Middleton on the Dartington Summer Festival.
Rose is now at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, continuing her studies with Helen Krizos. She is extremely grateful to be supported by the Waverley Fund, Pendle Young Musicians Bursary and Talent Unlimited