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.