Mark Viners voyage of discovery
A very stimulating and interesting afternoon at St Mary’s today in Hugh Mather‘s Sunday afternoon recital series at St.Mary’s Perivale.
Mark Viner the young Oxford born virtuoso,trained at the Purcell school under Tessa Nicholson and at the RCM under Niel Immelman presented a fascinating programme of Alkan and Liszt.
There was hardly a single piece that I had heard before so it was much appreciated Mark’s very learned introduction to these rarely if ever heard works of Alkan and Liszt.
It was very interesting to learn that the Alkan Nocturne op.22 was somewhere between Field and Chopin and to know from Delacroix’s diaries that Chopin,Liszt Georges Sand and Dumas had been in the audience when Alkan himself performed it in a Paris salon.
To have also Alkan’s original pedal markings pointed out too.
A beautiful piece that thanks to Mark’s discovery may now be performed more often as with the Trois Andante romantiques op 13 n.2 that opened this recital.
In both we were treated to sumptuous sound on a not easy piano that showed to the full Mark’s mastery not only intellectually but above all technically.
With a sound palate that went with his complete immersion in a genre that has not been delved into since the time of Raymond Lewenthal and Ronald Smith.
Both of whom were considered pioneers to have discovered and brought to our attention the figure of Alkan that up until then had just been a name in history books of the so called Romantic era in the salons of Liszt and Chopin .
Some amazing feats of virtuosity in the study op 35 n.10 “Chant d’amour- chant de mort,”with its amazing shift from light to dark from a sublime cantabile to a funeral march finale.
These studies,”dans tous les tons majeurs”, we will be lucky enough to savour in April when Mark’s recently recorded CD should be available.Probably a first recording as far as I am aware.
Quite a feat when one considers that at only 27 his 2 CD’s of Thalberg and Liszt Paraphrases have already been on the market for some time.And justly to great acclaim. The research and preparation necessary for such an operation requires just the total dedication and enthusiasm that Mark exudes on the platform .
Quite happy to give the most amusing erudite introductions and then to be able to produce in sound what many intellectuals have only been able to describe in words.
The Paraphrase de Concert on Ernani de Verdi S.432 by Liszt which completed todays recital was given a truly astonishingly grandiose performance that made one wonder why it has not been heard as often as the famous Rigoletto paraphrase .
The charming Pastorale – Schnitter- Chor aus dem Entfesselten Prometheus S.508 has only ever been performed by that other champion of Liszt’s music Leslie Howard.
Here given a beautifully clear precise performance to contrast with the much more complex sound world of the Chaconne and Ernani Paraphrase in this second half of his programme that was dedicated to Liszt.
It was good to hear for only the second time in concert the Chaconne und Sarabande aus dem Singspiel Almira von G.F. Handel S.181 .An amazing piece with quite a remarkable build up beautifully achieved by Mark today as it had been by Mariam Batsashvili recently at the Wigmore Hall.
It was good to see the original scores too after the concert and to realise just how important it was to get back to the original source to appreciate how much more precise the composers were with their indications than some of the editions that have sprung up over the years since .
All thanks not only to Mark Viner but also to Hugh Mather and his faithful trusting audience that have for some time championed this young pianist who is fast making a name for himself as a very unique english trained virtuoso.