Victor Maslov at St Mary’s

Victor Maslov at St Mary’s
Victor Maslov at St Mary`s Perivale today.
Very moved to see that this remarkable young pianist is the recipient of an Eileen Rowe musical Trust Award.
Eileen Rowe the remarkable teacher in Ealing who dedicated her life to sharing her passionate discipline for music with young children.
We as students would be only too pleased to help her with her enormous piano practice in her house in St Stephens Road where every room contained a piano.
Danielle Salamon,Katherine Stott and many others were accepted into her musical family and treated to the wonderful roast lunches that were part of a days teaching for her.
Generous in life as she is in the hereafter having left all her goods to creating a fund to help needy young musicians resident in Ealing.
The Trust administered by her star pupil Vanessa Latarche,now head of keyboard studies at the RCM ,together with Doctor HughMather,retired consultant physician at Ealing Hospital ,whose children were pupils of Eileen Rowe.
He is now the passionate instigator and Deus ex Machina of regular concerts in which not only can some of the finest young talents be appreciated by his discerning public but like Miss Rowe in giving regular paid engagements to these young artists he is offering more often than not a much needed life line in a very delicate part of their professional life.
Dmitri Alexeev a long time resident in Ealing since his victory in the Leeds International Piano Competition in the 70`s when he took first prize from the likes of Mitsuko Uchida and Andras Schiff.
A long time favourite in Rome where I heard him give the most remarkably physical account of Rachmaninovs third piano concerto.
In fact his total identification with the music has remained with me ever since when he used to play regularly in Rome as he was Lanza Tomassi`s (the head of the radio in Rome)favourite pianist.
His performances in my theatre in Rome were organised by another remarkable lady who was his agent in Milan:Donatella Brizio.
In particular his performance of the Chopin B minor Sonata will long be remembered by all those lucky enough to have been present
Alexeev now with the same dedication as Eileen Rowe has become one of the most renowned and sought after teachers in the world. A place in his studio at the Royal College of Music is one if the most sought after accolades of aspiring young pianists from around the globe.
And so it was with great anticipation that I came to Victor Maslov`s recital today.
Winner of many prizes and competitions he is now perfecting his studies at the RCM with Alexeev as a Future of Russia Foundation scholar.
Some wonderfully delicate quiet playing that revealed all his early training in Russia.Indeed fingers of steel but wrists of rubber gave a very special sound to this not easy to tame piano.
The Brahms Handel variations suffered,however, from a lack of insistent propulsion and instead of a continuous crescendo to the final triumphant explosion of the original theme we got a series of exquisite episodes.Hampered by some rather fussy rubatos and insistence on finding counter melodies in the repeats we rather lost the overall architecture of this monumental almost orchestrally conceived work.
Whereas Dmitri Alexeev’s totally physical identification with all he plays in which the shapes and sounds of the music are reflected in the movement of his body and hands. Strangely enough above a certain level there was none of this self identification which led to a very brilliant but rather brittle sound. Not the rich orchestral sound world of Brahms. It was this above all that was missing in what has the makings of a remarkable performance.
The massive fugue almost an inevitable release as is the coda of Chopins fourth ballade ,was played with great assurance but a feeling that Victor had not quite tamed the difficult beast set before him.
The little encore of the exquisite Prelude in G sharp minor by Rachmaninov showed off the real artistry of this young musician.
His performance of the 8 Etudes Tableaux op 33 also had some most poetic moments in the quieter passages that abound.
Here again in the sumptuous sound world in the more robust passages the full robust sound was substituted by a very brilliant but again rather brittle sound where he seemed to exclude the very bodily participation that was so unforgettable in Alexeevs performances .
I have no doubt that this young man inspired by his teacher will aspire to the career that he already richly deserves.

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