Julian Trevelyan at St Mary’s
Julian Trevelyan at St.Mary`s Perivale
The exquisite encores of Noctuelles by Ravel and Chopin’s Aeolian Harp study op 25 n.1 summed up the extraordinary piano playing of this modest young man who took the music world by storm two years ago at the age of 16 by running off with the top prize at the Long Thibaud International Piano Competition in Paris.
Now only 18 and playing quite regularly in public whilst studying at the Ecole Normale and also studying.for a degree in Geology with the Open University.
Such is the talent of this young man that is imbued with the spirit of the real Renaissance man.
And such is the wisdom of Doctor Hugh Mather to have established a season on Tuesday afternoons in which the finest young pianists in the land can not only be heard by his large and discerning public but they can also listen to themselves , via the professional video recording of these concerts, on their long and ever more difficult ascent to sharing their remarkable interpretative skills on the world stage.
The complete understanding of this first of Ravel`s Miroirs showed the absolute clarity and clockwork precision that the composer demands added to a complete and subtle sense of colour.
Wonderful use of the sustaining pedal gave his nimble fingers the possibility to fleet around the keyboard like the night moths that Ravel intended.
The Chopin study seemingly one of the easiest to play. But in order to have the sonority of an Aeolian Harp and allow the melody to soar above it requires a transcendental technique and subtlety of balance that Charles Halle so aptly described on hearing Chopin himself playing this piece on his last ill fated visit to our Isles.
Julian would have gladly played all of Ravels Miroirs as I am sure he would have played all Chopin`s Studies too for this sort of talent has no limit or restrictions .
It is a joy for him to share his music with us.
And doubly a joy for Dr Mather and his by now devoted followers of which I count myself privileged to have found this musical oasis in this ever more barren time.
However this came at the end of a very difficult programme that included Schumann`s Humoreske op 20,Shostakovich`s youthful first sonata op.12 and Chopin`s late scherzo op.54
The Chopin Scherzo played with just the right sonority that seemed to give an aura to this not always easy Yamaha in which his superb sense of balance could allow the beautiful middle section to sing as only a seasoned Chopin player could do.
Some very fleet passage work quite rightly passed unnoticed as the mood was set from the very outset.
Another of this young mans talents is also acting which was obvious from his very clear and intelligent introduction to todays programme.
The Shostakovich sonata written at about the same age as our performer today sounded very much like Prokofiev`s 3rd Sonata but very soon dissolved into Shostakovich`s typical march like mood.
Some amazingly percussive sounds sometimes even resorting to first the left fist and then the right .Such was the musicianship and his acute ear it never forced the piano sound but only reinforced the rhythmic urgency with quite astonishing technical skill.
The middle section dissolving into the most magical sound world where the remarkable use of the pedals together with a very sensitive sound palate showed us just what a remarkably neglected work this is.
In the notoriously elusive Humoresque by Schumann I felt he had not quite judged the piano or sized up the audience.
Beautiful cantabile of the touchingly simple opening but I felt it was a little too slow to allow the very subtle shaping that Schumann`s world demands.
Einfach,yes ,as simple as you like but there are so many different inflections of what are in reality songs without words.
If the cantabile passages were too slow and the faster ones too fast it was not to say that here there was not some remarkable playing .
It was to say that the romantic sweep and rich sonority of Julian`s Chopin later in the programme did not make clear in Schumann the overall architectural shape .
Julian had after all warned us in his introduction about this seemingly free formed work
By opus 20 Schumann had gone through most of his major works for solo piano:Carnaval op.9 ,Kreisleriana op.16,Fantasie op.17 and Symphonic Studies op 13 to name just a few of the continuous outpouring of masterpieces from Schumann`s pen.
After the concerto op 54 we get to the later works where Schumann’s vision is ever more clouded by his fight with Florestan and Eusebius.
But in op. 20 Schumann`s romantic ardour is in full flight and I felt that Julian wanted to show us the more classical later side rather than the truly romantic ardour that he saved for the Chopin in the second half of this remarkable recital.
He is also studying with a 92 year old disciple of Floria Musicescu ,Dinu Lipatti and Radu Lupu`s teacher and he would do well to listen to Radu Lupu`s remarkable performance of this notoriously elusive masterpiece.
Richter and Horowitz too.
There is in fact a remarkable video on you tube of the inspirational masterclass of Andras Schiff at the RCM with another of Dr Mathers pianists Hin-Yat Tsang who by coincidence has this week won a top prize in Barcellona.
Hats off to Ealing and to Hugh Mather and Vanessa Latarche ( head of piano studies at the RCM) star pupil of the much missed Eileen Rowe of Ealing and also Dmitri Alexeev long time resident in Ealing and Hin Yats former teacher at the RCM.