Holding the baby at St Barnabas

Baby call at St Barnabas The Cashell,Sloane,Watterton Trio
Some really fine music making in Ealing today with the trio of Anna Cashell,violin,Hannah Sloane,cello,Simon Watterton,piano. One work on this lunchtime programme in St Barnabas in Ealing : the Brahms B major Trio op 8
I noticed a few months back how remarkable the Brahms F Minor Sonata was at the Wigmore Hall played by Louis Lortie on a wonderful Bosendorfer piano. How unusual it was not to find the usual Steinway or Fazioli but here the Bosendorfer with its generously rich sonorous bass and meltingly beautiful treble let us hear the Brahms Sonata in all its grandeur mixed with moonlight seduction as probably Brahms may have envisaged it.
And so it was a pleasant surprise to see the Bosendorfer Grand in place with its jaws wide open waiting to devour the Brahms Trio. Our master of ceremonies the indefatigable Hugh Mather was worried that Simon might devour his two beautiful partners which could have well led to strained relations afterwards at home for Anna Cashell is in life Mrs Simon Watterton and it was in fact Hugh who was also left holding their little baby .
Hugh need not have worried because Simon knows how to drive this dangerous instrument and I do not think it was out of fear as you could see him listening intently to the balance as were his partners.Listening to each other scrupulously but with passion . In fact the most noticeable thing was that you did not notice the piano at all, so integrated was it into the whole .
What fine musicians they are each one generously supporting,goading,encouraging and, yes, seducing the other.Aiding and abetting I believe a policeman would call it .
Also the other noticeable thing was how each member of the trio was living each note and looking intently at each other. It was most noticeable how Hannah Stone was really living each moment of the music and with a glance sharing her thoughts with the others. She need not have worried because Anna played at some moments with such passionate involvement that one would not have thought this little Irish lass capable of such evil thoughts! Simon produced some remarkable sonorities that literally melted into the magical air of perfumed sounds that were being born in that moment.( Isn’t there a Debussy Prelude with a similar title?)
Such was also the spontaneity that the audience of some very distinguished musicians were held spellbound . Nina Walker the nonagerian pianist,accompanist to the famous for years and founder member of Nimbus .Also present Audrey Ellison ex chairman of the Chopin and Liszt Societies in London
We all would have loved an encore but Hugh who was unaware that there might be a possibility cut short this memorable concert his only thought,quite rightly was to get back to his baby sitting duties as you can see.

Maxime Tortelier with the Southbank Sinfonia

Maxime Tortelier with the Southbank Sinfonia
On my way to the Globe saw ,by chance,that the South Bank Sinfonia were giving a concert at St John`s Waterloo. I last bumped into them in the castle in Anghiari where they go every summer in the castle of our dear friend the Contessa Lucrezia in the castle where Michelangeli used to give his summer masterclasses. The most amazing coincidence was that they were being conducted by Paul Tortelier`s grandson Maxime. How many times Paul,Maude and Pau played for us in Rome and became close friends.He insisted on writing to the French President about peace .He wanted to send it via the Vatican post .He had just come from the USA where he had set his poem for piece to La Marseillaise.
There is Paul`s foto in prize of place on the theatre wall in Rome and many people used to ask if I was his son,such was the likeness. Now of course they ask if it is me! And the first thing Maxime exclaimed was how much my hair was like his grandfathers!
Very fine performances of Boulez Memoriale and Shostakovich`s 14th Symphony .Wonderful bass soloist in particular Jihoon Kim. All to be broadcast on Radio 3 tomorrow at 19.30. Looking forward to a repeat performance.

Canan Maxton at Asia House

Canan Maxton at Asia House
Final concerts today in Asia House for the Music Futures Festival organised by the indomitable Canan Maxton of Talent Unlimited. How many young artists owe a great debt to this generous Turkish promoter of the arts,whose only aim is to support great young talent in those difficult first steps into the professional world.
Once a year she holds a three day festival to augment and publicise her enormous all year round activity. It was only a few days ago that I was invited to her beautiful home in Regents Park to hear the programme of one of her young artists before he flew off to compete in an International Piano Competition in Monza……he is already through to the second round and we have our fingers crossed that he will proceed to the final.Unfortunately this circus act is a very difficult hurdle for truly great talent.And it is thanks to Canan for her support and encouragement that give a base for these young artists in this ever changing world in which they have to compete.
Beautiful lunchtime concert today with two magnificent singers,complimenting each other in the diversity of repertoire,and finally a very fine clarinet duo. First a lieder singer Waimay Yau with Joyce Chiao Yu Wu her partner(for she was just that)at the piano. A great pleasure to hear these songs of Wolf and Liszt sung with such intelligence and perfect diction.I have not heard Liszt`s “Die Drei Zigeuner” since Schwarzkopf`s unforgettable performances with the urbane ,perfect partner in Geoffrey Parsons. This too,today was a splendid partnership with the pianist very much an equal partner especially in the intricate Wolf Lieder.
Canan almost ruined the next singers entry for Musetta`s Waltz from La Boheme. Like all true divas the announced Vocalise by Rachmaninoff/Volodos for piano solo was swiftly substituted by an aria from La Nozze di Figaro. But what a voice from this exceptional young soprano with the same quality of voice as Rita Streich and in the Lehar” Meine Lippen sie kussen so heiss” there was the same seductive charm of that much missed singer. The singers’ fine orchestra was Yoko Misumi and their perfect ensemble in “O mio babbino caro” brought the house down.
Hard to believe that the perfect duo of Ozlem Celik and Lysianne Chen was a last minute substitute such was their ensemble in Poulenc’s evergreen Sonata that they were beseeched to offer an encore to this large and discerning audience.

There was even a swallow at the window looking in to see who was producing the enchanting sounds that were keeping us all so enthralled.

The opening concert was a completely different thing.
In a much larger space to accommodate the numerous fans who flocked to the concert .
A real “star”performer in AyseDenizGokcin a pianist in the style of Giovanni Aleevi who with their Lisztian funambalistics can fill even the largest of halls.
Anyone who has been trained as I with some of the finest musicians of our time find it is very hard to understand and enjoy this seemingly very simplistic way of making music, but it is much appreciated by the masses that have not had this sort of  musical education.
They flock to the concerts and find real enjoyment and enthusiasm in these concerts as was shown on the faces of the audience of the sold out performance the other night .
I am ,in fact ,very envious but ” you cannot teach an old dog new tricks” as they say ,and so I will just have to leave this sort of entertainment to others.
Hats off to Canan Maxton,though, for allowing her public into this new territory.
A real cross-over but it is just not for me .It is too late!

Canan Maxton at Asia House

nCanan Maxton at Asia House
Final concerts today in Asia House for the Music Futures Festival organised by the indomitable Canan Maxton of Talent Unlimited. How many young artists owe a great debt to this generous Turkish promoter of the arts,whose only aim is to support great young talent in those difficult first steps into the professional world.
Once a year she holds a three day festival to augment and publicise her enormous all year round activity. It was only a few days ago that I was invited to her beautiful home in Regents Park to hear the programme of one of her young artists before he flew off to compete in an International Piano Competition in Monza……he is already through to the second round and we have our fingers crossed that he will proceed to the final.Unfortunately this circus act is a very difficult hurdle for truly great talent.And it is thanks to Canan for her support and encouragement that give a base for these young artists in this ever changing world in which they have to compete.
Beautiful lunchtime concert today with two magnificent singers,complimenting each other in the diversity of repertoire,and finally a very fine clarinet duo. First a lieder singer Waimay Yau with Joyce Chiao Yu Wu her partner(for she was just that)at the piano. A great pleasure to hear these songs of Wolf and Liszt sung with such intelligence and perfect diction.I have not heard Liszt`s “Die Drei Zigeuner” since Schwarzkopf`s unforgettable performances with the urbane ,perfect partner in Geoffrey Parsons. This too,today was a splendid partnership with the pianist very much an equal partner especially in the intricate Wolf Lieder. Canon almost ruined the next singers entry for Musetta`s Waltz from La Boheme. Like all true divas the announced Vocalise by Rachmaninoff/Volodos was swiftly substituted by an aria from La Nozze di Figaro. But what a voice form this exceptional young soprano the same quality as Rita Streich and in the Lehar” Meine Lippen sie kussen so heiss” there was the same seductive charm of that much missed singer. The singers’ fine orchestra was YokoMisumi and their perfect ensemble in “O mio babbino caro brought the house down Hard to believe that the perfect duo of Ozlem Celik and Lysianne Chen was a last minute substitute such was their ensemble in Poulenc’s evergreen Sonata that they were beseached to offer an encore to this large and discerning audience.
There was even a swift at the window looking in to see who was producing the enchanting sounds that were keeping us all so enthralled.

Ke Ma at St Johns

Ke Ma with the Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Blair at St John`s Smith Square.
Wonderful to see an orchestra made of such youthful young musicians. All playing their hearts out which I am sure the fine conductor has spent many hours working them into a united ensemble. Now they need to listen to each other and find their way and a true sense of balance that would allow the line to sing out without such a battle as there was in the Wagner Meistersinger Overture that opened the programme.
It was even more evident the real lack of line and direction. Dohnanyi too asks for a very large orchestra for his Variations on a Nursery Song in which Ke Ma was the splendid soloist. Rather overblown in this day and age and all compliments to the YMSO for proposing it tonight. Unfortunately it appears ,in this day and age ,as rather like a poor man’s Rachmaninov Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini.
Here the lack of balance and proportion was even more evident and it was often a struggle to be able savour the really extraordinary pianistic and musical qualities of the solist. Not sure what Dohnanyi himself would have made of the battle waged tonight.
However the soloist was persuaded to play an encore after a successful if rather overblown account of the Dohnyani. And what a spectacular performance she gave.The flight of the bumble bee that puts Rachmaninov’s famous arrangement to shame. Christopher Elton,that very distinguished professor from the Royal Academy ,where Ke Ma received her final training,suggested it might be by Volodos.Indeed he would be one of the very few who could tackle the treacherous demands of this bumble bee . I thought it could be Kapustin . But no ,Ke Ma told us that it was given to her by her professor in China and it is by Alinsky.(?) I wonder if he could play it as superlatively as Ke Ma did tonight. At last we were allowed to savour the real qualities of this exceptional young pianist. She even learnt the Dohnyani especially for tonight’s performance and doubt very much if she will have occasion to play it again ,at least I sincerely hope not. There is always the superlative recording of Cyril Smith or Julius Katchen if one really needed to listen to this rather outdated piece.

Othello’s Guilt at the Rose Playhouse

Othellos’s Guilt at the Rose Playhouse
Che nostalgia sentire Marco Gambino al storico Rose Playhouse a Londra nel monologo “OTHELLO`S GUILT” da Shakespeare nel adattamento di Roberto Cavosi …..e ora da tornare a casa! Wonderful to be able to appreciate Marco Gambino`s performance of Roberto Cavosi`s “Othello`s Guilt” on the very foundations of the historic theatre where many of Shakespeare’s plays first saw the light of day.
It was here a few years ago that I was introduced to this very suggestive space by the stage director Terry d’Alfonso directing her adaptation of The Tempest. In fact so many friends and ghosts from my theatre in Rome.Roberto Cavosi introduced to me by Richard Berkeley almost thirty years ago when we were all passionately committed to the arts and all uniting around my theatre in Rome that was a hive of activity not only for the famous but also for those that had something to say and just needed a space where to express themselves.We were young and passionately commited …nothing has changed! Roberto Cavosi even then a writer of great promise now fully realised over the years has become a highly esteemed playwright and radio broadcaster.
Our dear friend Terry d`Alfonso passed awayso unexpectedly, only a few months ago and this very season the preview in London of her film about Picasso was much appreciated.
Richard Berkeley now lives in Warsaw where he directs a Orchestra along the lines of the South Bank Sinfonia giving young musicians a chance to play in a fine ensemble together .
So back to Marco Gambino who has also played in my theatre in Rome but here in London on Shakespeare`s original site there was magic in the air for this justly sold out performance.
A tour de force with just him on stage for an hour with this project that was worked out with Roberto over a five year period. Very interesting talk ,in english ,at the end between actor and his pubic loath to leave this magical space . Must finish on Saturday so not much time to beg a precious seat for one of these last performances.

John Granger Fisher at Perivale

John Granger Fisher in Perivale
Anyone who presents a lunchtime recital programme that includes Brahms Paganini,Islamey,Liszt Tarantella and two of Rachmaninovs most difficult Etudes Tableaux interspersed for good measure with Liebestod and Widmung is either very foolhardy or a complete master.
John Granger Fisher falls into the latter category and regaled all those fortunate to be present in Perivale for Hugh Mathers remarkable series,with an hour of pure music.Such was the mastery of this remarkable young australian, graduate of the Royal College of Music we were not aware of the superhuman feats being performed before our very eyes.
Studying in Australia with Natasha Vlassenko and Oleg Stepanov he continued his studies with Boris Berman and Oxana Yablonskaya in the great russian tradition at Hartford in the USA. Completing his Artists Diploma with Vanessa Latarche and winner of the prestigious Chappell Gold Medal he is now ready to take the world by storm.
A not easy piano was given a unique voice and convinced us otherwise right from the magical opening notes of Wagner/Liszt Liebestod.Sumptuous rich sound at the climax interspersed with a quite magical cantabile where all the various strands were given an individual voice. The Liszt Tarantella from Venezia e Napoli was given a most surprisingly poetic reading but never missing the fifth gear when called on. Liszt`s beautiful arrangement of Schumann`s Widmung confirmed this young mans extraordinary credentials as a poet of the keyboard in the tradition of the “Golden Age” of piano playing…..something I have not heard for many a year since the deeply missed Cherkassky and Magaloff were seducing their adoring public.
The old warhorse of Balakirev :Islamey was even more astonishing for the almost magic carpet performance that unfolded in John Fishers amazingly flexible hands. The ever nostalgic Etude Tableaux in E flat minor op 39n.5 was coupled with a most subtle performance of op.39 n.1. All this was just a prelude to the sheer tour de force of the Complete Brahms Paganini Variations. Not a foot wrong in any sense here in this work that not many pianists would attempt in public let alone in a lunchtime recital. All the subtle nuances and colours could allow us to marvel at this masterpiece of Brahms.Thirds,sixths octave glissandi it was all here but there was very much more besides.The wonderful sonorous sounds mixed with the most melting pianissimi imaginable.This was Brahms at it s grandest and made us realise that it could only ever be like this.Everything was so logical and inevitable.
An amazing discovery and it is just a question of time before we will be hearing much more from John Granger Fisher .
A battle with visas awaits unfortunately .
A battle that must be won .
Quite prepared to share him with Australia but loose him for good would be unpardonable.

From blog to blog A reply to Hugh Mather about pianists out of control

Not sure if my reply to Hugh Mathers blog was recorded.

It was done in such a hurry that I intended  to reply at length later .

Actually after a concert that is  one of the few times in my life I left as soon as was decently possible.

Why did I leave? ……….what did I say to Hugh?……..this is a consideration ….my consideration ……..who am I to consider anything? …

That I leave to others to judge .What right do I have  to  judge  anyone or anything ?.I can only give my opinion and am always happy to be proven wrong.

An excess of modesty on my part but also on that of Hugh Mather who not only has created one of the most prestigious pianistic calendars,giving professional engagements to the needy young  talents that he has been able to spot as  great up and coming talents ,  but  also plays in public himself .His last appearance was with the Hammerklavier and his next will be with the Archduke on the 12th October with one of the best young cellist of today Jamal Aliyev who loves making music with this very modest retired consultant doctor .

Hugh had made a consideration that maybe many talented young musicians were tempted to play fast passages too fast and slow ones too slow.Citing Chopin 1st and 3rd Ballades and the F minor Fantasy  also including the fatally monumental Liszt Sonata in B minor.

A highly esteemed  doctor Hugh Mather may have been but he is also a very accomplished musician who now can dedicate himself to his real passion.Something he does with a modesty and generosity that are very rare indeed these days.

When I was  made a sub professor at the Royal Academy in London …many illustrious doctors from nearby Harley Street would ask if there was anyone that could teach them the piano.

I was of course the obvious choice – the new boy – .I well remember a very accomplished physician telling me that it was me or the psychiatrist and I was a bit cheaper!!!!!.

So many doctors ,lawyers and professional people have been brought up in privileged , more often  than not Jewish families ,where music was an important family activity,but was not considered a serious profession .So many professional people have grown up with their musical passion  momentarily stifled but it was always there simmering under the surface.

I had replied to Hughs comment about speedy pianists quoting my teacher Guido Agosti who put paramount importance on what was written in the score.

Tempo and dynamic indications are shown by the composer and the respect for these indications are the foundations on which the interpreter can begin to build .Adding,of course his own personality,passion,musicality etc etc .

It is not a straight jacket but on the contrary once these fundamental indications are mastered and understood it leaves the interpreter free to express all his personality and individuality.

Without this initial stage there is nothing .

That may seem drastic but this is the line that many of the greatest musicians from the very  first apparition of  Schnabel that Lechititsky declared was a musician but no real pianist .This opened the door to a new type of pianist – the musician pianist that we know today  of Serkin,Arrau Pollini  and Barenboim to our modern day Perahia and Zimerman

Every time that the ” High Priestess of Bach”  Rosalyn Tureck came to play she would always ask me for a metronome  to reset her performances even after years of knowing them.There was always something new to discover in the score even when she was well into her eighties and the rhythmic impulse was fundamental to her performances of Bach.

Infact this was the lesson that we all flocked to Siena to understand from Agosti.who was, after all, a pupil of Busoni.The school of Liszt  and the man who was perhaps the most modern of pianists,one of the very first to edit and play the Sonatas of Beethoven .

And how many students came to grief in the class of Agosti if they had not prepared their scores according to the composers wishes.I remember a graduate from  the famous Julliard  School in the USA playing his prize winning piece Miroirs by Ravel to Agosti only to be asked if he was  reading it for the first time.

The same lesson was an essential part of Toscanini’s revolutionary conducting that was passed on via Giulini to Riccardo Muti and many other great Italian interpreters which includes nowadays Antonio Pappano.

Joyce Di Donato on Desert Island Discs ,only  this week,  very candidly told of Riccardo Muti at her first rehearsal at La Scala  walking out saying she was not ready to sing .Such was the shock she not only sang but says she had never sang so well in her life.Excellence has a price !A question of courage ,passion and God given  talent,above all, of course

A great artist is always in the search of the impossible and nothing will get in their way .

It is a very hard lesson to learn and many get destroyed,unfortunately ,on the way.But for the greatest interpreters  it is a dedication and life time struggle that comes across to their world wide admirers .

How many times one hears the Schumann piano concerto first movement with so many variations in tempo .The real artist will follow the indications in the score and find the tempo that will work for the opening flourish as it will for the first theme that follows.

This does not mean that one is in a straight jacket …on the contrary ..anyone that heard Martha Argerich the other day and will have noticed the freedom and subtelty of her playing  in the Schumann Piano Concerto that comes from an absolute fidelity to the score .Of course the difference is between the amateur pianist who thinks he or she is playing with great sentiment etc and maybe does not have the technical means to control their feelings .This is fine in the confines of ones private studio,but the professional pianist more  is expected and is obliged to study the score minutely to discover what the composer wants and to put his/her talent to this end .

There is though the strange anomaly of a master pianist who does what he “thinks” the composer wants.Herein is a curious phenomenon, sometimes with  great public following

Was it not Martha Argerich herself that walked out of the Chopin competition when Pogorelich was not admitted into the second round.She ,the great complete artists that she is,had noticed that here was a great pianist discussible musical ideas,but a great pianist nevertheless .

How should it be judged or should it indeed be judged or just taken as  highly original musical taste!Food for thought indeed.

Ivo  Pogorelich had a  wonderful control of sound,a fantastic technical command but a total disregard for the composers indications.In fact  when Deustche Grammaphon asked Vlado Perlemuter ( a disciple of Ravel) for some words of wisdom to market Pogorelich’s recording of Ravel that included Gaspard de la nuit and Valses Nobles ,Perlemuter simply replied ” What is that “!

Another master pianist  who does not always follow the score has an enormous following is Simon Trpceski.Fine in concertos but in the recital hall very individual indeed.Too much for some  with the modern day taste of absolute fidelity to the text.A series of wonderful moments rather than an overall architectural vision.

There are also the light music phenomena  :the singer Bocelli and the pianist  Aleevi both with an enormous following from a doting public but for the discerning musician  they are artists that have not understood the very meaning of  interpretation and must remain in the world of light music rather than that of the great interpreters .Capable of filling vast stadiums such is their stage personality .They are popular entertainers .

Lang Lang sits firmly on the fence very rarely  venturing these days into the treacherous territory of the  classical music interpreter,as outlined, but more often than not entering the world as a marvellous  entertainer and advocate for the piano a real beacon   for  the millions of his followers not only in China but throughout the world .

An educator one might say………a real prophet one might even hazard !

A real modern day phenomenon that one can only admire even if his concerts are not always  for the discerning listener .

A very interesting subject indeed ………..but the fact is that when one hears a really great interpretation no words are needed .In fact there are no words – for music enters a territory where words are just not enough.Music is a language of its own- a real universal language ,in fact.

It is a direct line from  mind to heart  and generally has meant a total  dedication and study on the part of the interpreter to the exclusion of all else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hockney and la Principe

Costanza Principe at St James`s today. To say it was a beautiful recital by.a beautiful young lady would be a great understatement.
Her exquisite Allegretto from the Drei Klavierstucke was even more poignant for the exclusion of the other two.But to what effect!We are so used to having to hear the complete work it was very daring ,in this age of the Urtext or nothing ,to let this most beautiful piece stand proudly on its own and to separate the “little”Beethoven op 78 Sonata from Rachmaninoff’s rumbustuos second Sonata.
What she missed in the devilry and inexorable forward propulsion of a Horowitz in this Rachmaninoff she more than compensated for with such a beautifully nuanced sense of balance that she managed to seduce a very large audience on this balmy autumn afternoon.
Of course it was immediately apparent from the first notes of the Beethoven that here was a highly intelligent musician listening intently to the shape and beauty of the extraordinary opening of this “little” much underrated sonata.
No encore was offered so as we came out into the bright sunshine from this beautiful church in the heart of London we just had to thank Costanza for filling this lunch hour with such beauty.
“All things bright and beautiful…..” we used to sing at school sprang to mind as I crossed the road to the Royal Academy to see the 82 portraits that David Hockney painted in the summer of 2013.
All in the same studio on the same chair in his studio in Los Angeles.All friends or family .Now in his 80th year Hockney simply declares:”I don’t do celebrities,photography does celebrities.My friends are my celebrities”.Always a Yorkshire lad at heart,you see.Ca va sans dire

Viners Norma

I remembered a remarkable performance that I had heard from Mark Viner a few weeks ago of Liszt’s Norma Fantasy and so after the rather boring stage performance of Norma at Covent Garden I could not wait to listen to his new CD of Liszt Opera Fantasies.
Of course the static world of the CD can never give the frisson necessary in these works that live for an audience and let me say that the live performance of the Norma Fantasy by Mark Viner on a magnificent Bosendorfer Piano was even more remarkable than the performance on this superbly recorded Steinway .
And what a genius Liszt was indeed with these early Reminiscences written for his own performances in the fashionable salons of the day .These works that most pianists can only admire “from a safe distance” as that Liszt expert Leslie Howard has penned in his marathon complete recordings of Liszt’s works for piano( over 100 CD’s and a well deserved entry in the Guinness book of records(sic)).
Mark Viner is still very young yet this is already the second recording of Opera Fantasies – the first being that of Thalberg-Liszt’s greatest rival- that I have spoken about a few months ago.
I remember the sensation that the arrival of Raymond Lewenthal created at his first appearance in London at the Wigmore Hall with works by Alkan and Liszt,some of which we had only read about in history books but never heard performed .
One such work was the Hexameron that is also on this remarkable disc .
Written for the salon of Princess di Belgiojoso for her campaign for the independence of her beloved homeland,Italy.
Using the theme from Bellini’s I Puritani,a reactionary call to arms,she had persuaded many artists ,actors ,authors and politicians to give their autographs and painters such as Delacroix and Scheffer to donate paintings for the cause.
Thus the Hexameron coordinated by Liszt was with variations on I Puritani donated by Chopin,Thalberg,Pixis,Czerny and Herz .
Let me just say that Mark Viner is a young english trained virtuoso.
He studied at the Purcell School with Tessa Nicholson and later at the Royal College with Niel Immelman and hats off to them for producing such a real virtuoso that can cope with ease the transcendental difficulties of these pieces that were written to show off the remarkable virtuosity of their composers and all the possibilities of the then new grand piano.
Not only is Mark Viner a very fine virtuoso in the great romantic tradition but he is also a thinking musician who has searched out these scores and is still searching for others to lay before us.
He also wrote the very learned notes on this CD .
The performances on this CD :the Hexameron as with the other Fantasies have nothing to fear from the Lewenthals or Brendels that had entered slightly into this magic world of rival pianists many years ago .
Here are fully fledged performance with great feats of pianism managed with ease .Sumptuous colours abound and expert pedalling allows us to marvel at the fact that there are only two hands on the keyboard.
The Norma fantasy, in particular ,shows the real genius of Liszt to search out all the marvellous things in what can sometimes seem rather overblown bel canto operas and give them a shape,form and thus meaning that is not always apparent in the original opera. Sometimes as here in the Norma fantasy changing the order of entrance of the themes from the original opera giving a cohesion and power that otherwise would be missing.
Of course it was Sutherland and her husband together with Callas and Siciliani who led the way with these Bel Canto operas and opened the gates,in our time.
These forgotten jewels that needed a magic princess with a golden voice to bring them back to life again.
I well remember too the intelligent Liszt recordings that Brendel made for the Turnabout label that were only fifty pence and that we as students hunted out and were overwhelmed to learn that Liszt was a composer to rank with the greatest as we had always thought.
Here on this latest CD are the Marche funebre de Dom Sebastien and the Reminiscences de Lucrezia Borgia by Donizetti together with Norma and Hexameron .
I am sure this is only the first in a series by this remarkable musician determined to re live the fantastic romantic world of the virtuosi of the 19th century.
Already running off with first prize at the Alkan International Competition ,Greece in 2012 .He is the Chairman of the Alkan Society in the UK and at only 27 I am sure we can expect many surprising discoveries at the beginning of his auspicious career.
Having heard his live performances of Alkan I am certain many recordings will be in the pipe line as the world discovers this young musician as they did Raymond Lewenthal all those years ago.
Mark tells me he will be making his New York debut next month ………when they too will discover this remarkable young british virtuoso .