“World class” exclaimed an exulted Hugh Mather at the end of the extraordinary recital by the Cuban pianist Marcos Madrigal today.
Playing in collaboration with the Keyboard Charitable Trust in the most remarkable series of great young pianists in London.
“on a cold day like this he has brought some Spanish sunshine into our lives” enthused a very excited Hugh,who has certainly seen some great young pianists in his time.
And much more besides, dear Hugh, as we were all witness today.
Right from the first note of the Chopin Nocturne in C Sharp minor op.posth,the penetrating luminosity of the sound gave us some indication that we were in the presence of a master. Perfect trills all with such clarity and allowed to sing thanks to this musicians wonderful sense of balance.
Musician…..magician yes – on the piano,and on this not easy Yamaha grand he was able to convince us that the sounds can live forever just like the human voice.
A juggling act indeed when one knows as soon as you play a note on a percussion instrument it begins to die away…unless you have found the secret of a Rubinstein,Zimerman,Perahia or a Curzon.
It is an art that conceals art and requires above all talent,but also dedication ,passion and work. Was it not Curzon,himself, who when asked his secret declared it was ninety per cent work and ten per cent talent. What talent though!
Following with another nocturne the almost” ballade” like one in C minor op 48 n.1 The wonderful cantabile sound but the subtle sense of colour and a rubato of such good taste one was not even aware of it. The music spoke as Chopin must have imagined it . The tumultuous middle section was kept under control with all the sense of line and shape paramount.No fireworks here as is often the case in lesser hands . The return of the melody above a shimmering accompaniment played with real passion and sentiment disappearing into the final expressive flourish so perfectly timed and with such poise .
Little did the audience expect the onslaught that followed with one of Prokofiev’s “War Sonatas” .The seventh in B flat op 83 He threw himself into the fray ” my kingdom for a horse indeed” …no blood on the keys but we certainly got the idea in this inspired performance. The second movement with its beautiful melody so sumptuously played with such ravishing sound a real magic trick indeed the violent passionate eruptions coming as even more of a contrast than expected. The last movement “Precipitato”.was just that . The insistent rhythmic pulse maintained with a tenacious magnetism ending in the most violently rhythmic onslaught that brought him a standing ovation . Rarely has that much heard sonata been heard in such a coherent full blooded but also passionate and tender performance I imagine since Richter’s premiere performance.
And so after the storm the sun came out in a selection of pieces by his compatriot Lecuona . Charmingly introduced by Marcos explaining the Cuban,Spanish,African influence and proceeding to charm and seduce us as only a true Cuban can. Was not Jorge Bolet the most seductive of pianists too . And so the colours the complicated syncopated rhythms all flowed from his fingertips seemingly so naturally . A Gitaneiras with such transcendental fingerwork -knotty twine indeed – but no knots here just pure simple sunshine thrown off with the ease of someone who lives in the country where manyana reigns . Malaguena ,of course was played to the manner born and from a beseeching public our charming magnificent pianist treated us to Goodbye Cuba . Arrivederci I think you mean dear Marcos as Hugh was reaching for his diary before this young man could get to the door.