Paris in Perivale

The beautiful 12th century church of St Mary’s in Perivale was the venue for a recital by Vitaly Pisarenko . Seen from a distance this wooden church could almost be in some scandanavian country instead of in the middle of Ealing golf course. It is the venue ,together with the nearby and much larger brother St.Barnabas ,of some extraordinary concerts by some of the most talented young musicians around. Founded by Hugh Mather and his remarkable team they are to celebrate ,this coming week ,their one thousandth concert . This concert by one of the stars of the Keyboard Charitable Trust coincided in New York with a memorial concert for Paris Ionescu,grandson of the founder of the Trust ,cruelly taken from us at only 28 years of age just before Christmas. In New York another of the KCT stars :Bolai Cao was performing . So for us with New York in our hearts it was a doubly poignant occasion. And what an occasion it was! This beautiful little gem full to the rafters for some extraordinary music making by one of the younger generation’s foremost pianists. His reputation from his triumphal television appearances in the Leeds International Piano Competition last september had be watched and admired by a vast audience and so it was with great anticipation that he performed in this exquisite venue to an enthusiastic audience. And the cherry on the cake were indeed the homemade tea and cakes offered to their very attentive audience at the end. Starting with Haydn’s.E minor sonata it was obvious from the first note that here was a most sensitive and intelligent performer. If the slow movement could have been projected more as almost an operatic aria it was more than compensated for by the” joie de vivre” and charm of the final vivace. So many beautiful things in Schumann ‘s Fantasiestucke op 12. From the sublimely whispered Des Abends to the almost Haydnesque impish humour of Traumes Wirren. In all this the extreme.control of dynamics and the sheer beauty of the sonorities found led to a truly memorable account. Too many unforgettable moments in a performance where the music was allowed to speak in a direct and simply way. Warum …..indeed beautifully and delicately projected,and if Grillen could have been allowed to sing more one felt that here was an original musical mind at work .The atmosphere created at the Ende vom Lied was reminiscent of the unforgettable performances of Rubinstein. So having forged his credentials as as a true poet of the piano it came as a thunderbolt the sheer energy and musical virtuosity ,after the interval ,with Chopin ‘s First Scherzo. For me one of the finest performances on record and judging from the cheers of this discerning audience I think there was no doubt in any one’s mind that we were in the presence of a true master. Confirmed by the passionate virtuosity combined with extreme delicacy of the Scriabin Fantasy and Third Sonata that closed the programme. A single encore of a recently found fragment by Rachmaninoff confirmed the intelligence of this remarkable young musician. Graced by the presence of Nina Walker now in her 90th year ,who I well remember in recital with Monserrat Caballe. Enthusiastic, as we all were ,she announced that she would be in the front row for Vitaly’s Rachmaninoff 3rd Piano Concerto at the RCM on the 3rd of February……I think there will be big queue for tickets with the reputation that he is fast gaining. At the end of this memorable concert.a charming note from Bolai Cao in New York to reassure us that he is rehearsing and that all is well. In fact New York ~ London we were united music ………..

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