Emanuel Rimoldi US Tour for the Keyboard Charitable Trust

Emanuel Rimoldi US tour for the Keyboard Charitable Trust
Emanuel Rimoldi at Yamaha New York for the Keyboard Charitable Trust in collaboration with the American Liszt Society.
“Stunning” were Gila Goldstein`s words used to describe this recital of Mozart K 310,Verdi/Liszt ,Chopin op.61,Rachmaninov Ten Preludes op.23.
On a rather bright Yamaha Concert Grand this young Italian pianist,winner of Top of the World and Manhattan International Competitions,managed to produce the most amazing range of sounds in a programme that showed off his mature,intelligent artistry.
Holding a discerning audience spellbound for over an hour and a half.
Rarely heard cheers greeted his performances .
Treated to an encore of such charm and subtle old world colour with the little waltz by Rebikov that our much missed Cherkassky used to beguile us with in the past.
Turning a bauble into a gem on this piano was a magic trick that is of very few.
Miracles indeed in the magically poetic Aida paraphrase. Barely touching the keys to allow Verdi`s emotional melodies from the final act of Aida to sing out without having to force the tone. A real tour de force of such subtlety to allow the amazing genius of Liszt to create the same spell and atmosphere that Verdi could on stage.
A real neglected masterpiece that needs a very special talent that can bring it to life as tonight.
Rachmaninov played as a unified whole.
In fact many played as pairs .
Many showing off a transcendental virtuosity as in n.2,7 and in particular n.9 the intricate feux follets legato thrown off with an ease that is of a chosen few. The amazingly intricate Tempo di minuetto where there seemed to be a kalaedoscopic appearance of this sometimes menacing sometimes etherial rhythmic invention of Rachmaninov with different colours appearing seemingly out of thin air.
Magical in the hands of this master magician.
The sheer seductive beauty of the D major prelude, the most melodic of the set ,where a very subtle rubato allied to constantly shifting tone colours made the music speak as it had in the Liszt with a refreshingly individual personality. Never foresaking the wishes of the composer but bringing it to life as only a real artist can.
Perfect tempi in Mozart and very subtle tone colouring always scrupulously in style brought this well known sonata to life.
Great drama in the first movement development contrasted with the refined filigree figurations that are so usually just rattled off in lesser hands.
The murmuring last movement brought to mind Chopin’s great B flat minor sonata such was the driving whispered energy behind these seemingly innocent notes.
In fact Chopin`s great Polonaise Fantasie was given a very grandiose performance full of bewitching colours and sudden changes of direction.
The long slow middle section played a little slower than usual but so pregnant with meaning that the slow return to the Polonaise and triumphant final outpouring came as complete contrast…….a fantasy polonaise indeed.
Especially in the torrid heat of 96 degrees that has hit New York on Emanuels arrival from Milan and mine from a still wintery London.
Beautifully organised and joint hosted by Caroline von Reitzenstein for the KCT and Gila Goldstein it was in the Nana Mukhadze Memorial Series.
Amongst terrible stories today in the ever more invasive mass media of a tragedy on the road in New York Times Square and ever more alarming stories of the Trump administration it was these magical moments from this remarkable young pianist that gave a much needed relief and glimpse of a paradise being lost for all those that cannot escape with us to this world of music where words are just not necessary .
We lucky few!
Not a squeak from the mass media about art and beauty the constants from time immemorial in a world that never changes.
Dining opposite Carnegie Hall this evening I notice Murray Perahia is playing there tonight the recital repeated in London on the 11th June that I had heard in Rome last March.
If Music be the Food of Love as someone so wisely stated centuries ago the world could be a better place. If only we could publicise that instead of constant news of tragedy,disaster and political mayhem.
Hats off to these great artists young and old dedicating their lives to beauty via their remarkable art.
“We merry few” to quote that sage yet again.
Now for Delaware,Castletown and Philadelphia on this short USA tour for the KCT.

Leslie Howard at the Reform Club

Leslie Howard Reformed Liszt
Leslie Howard at the Reform Club with rarely heard works of Liszt in place of the advertised two piano version of Beethoven 9th.
Due to the indisposition of the second pianist who fifty years younger had slipped and fractured his arm.
No need to worry as Leslie had some masterly performances in store.
Weinen Klagen Sorgen Zagen S.179 dedicated to Anton Rubinstein and written after the death of Liszt`s daughter,Blandine.
A rare Harmonie du Soir from 1833 ending with Grosses Konzert Solo S.176 a forerunner of the B minor Sonata of such difficulty that its dedicatee Adolf Henselt declared it beyond him.
S.Francis of Paola walking on the Waves was a remarkable encore on what must be the hottest day of the year.

Philadelphia comes to London the Curtis Symphony Orchestra

Curtis Symphony Orchestra at Cadogan Hall in London
Osmo Vanska conductor Peter Serkin piano
A strangely inhibited account of Brahms First Piano Concerto with Peter Serkin led to a full blooded virtuoso performance of Ein Heldenleben by Strauss .
Not only Maria Ioudenitch ,the concert master,played brilliantly but each section of this very large orchestra were allowed to play with all their youthful passion allied to a technical skill that is unique to the Curtis Institute.
Another hero to single out for her superb horn playing Sarah Boxmeyer.
Wonderful youthful exuberance in the two encores with Bernstein’s Candide and Prokofiev March.
Hats off to Osmo Vanska who had allowed these very fine young musicians a seemingly free reign and they in turn played with an evident joy and infectious enthusiasm that seemed to ignite the whole of the second half.
I well remember Rudolf Serkin’s remarkable totally convincing performances of the two Brahms Concerti at the reopening of the Royal Festival Hall.
His son Peter on the otherhand had gone on to make a name for himself as a very committed performer of contemporary music and it is only recently that we are hearing his performances of the classical repertory in this country.
Of course with a father called Rudolf and a grand father called Busch one can take for granted the superb musicianship of Peter Serkin .
There were some magical moments as in the two cadenzas of the first movement which seemed to appear from afar instead of the usually rather robust statement .
The etherial trills in the second movement were given an unusally free reign to great effect.
Rather over robust playing of the majestic main theme of the first movement with great upward movement of the arms that seemed to distract and led to some very harsh instead of robust sounds.
Very strange almost vibrating on the note in the quieter passages or could it have been the nervous tension that would not allow that total nervous almost frantic involvement that was so much part of the electricity that Rudolf could conjure up?
Here was all the temperament of his father but somehow one felt that he was not in a world that was totally his .
A fine performance in many ways much more assured than his second concerto at the Proms this summer but it was as though he was not totally convinced and therefore not convincing .
The orchestra played rather on tip toe as though they too were not completely conversant or convinced either.
However after the interval the orchestra playing Strauss’s great showpiece “A Hero’s Life” were totally in their element demonstrating just what it means to be one of the 4 per cent that are chosen from those that audition to be part the Curtis Institute’s 175 students that receive full time scholarships.
Forty percent of the student body comes to Curtis from outside the USA .
Over 20 nations are represented by the student body in a typical year.
Hence in the orchestra many oriental names abound and one only has to think that Lang Lang, Yuga Wang and our own Alexander Ullman all received their training in this noble institute to realise what it means to be a Curtis alumni .

Iyad Sughayer at St Martins

Iyad Sughayer at St Martins
Iyad Sughayer at St Martin in the Fields for the Embassy and Cultural Institute Series .
Representing the Embassy of Jordan Iyad I.Sughayer at only 24 is regarded as one of the Middle East`s most promising young artists.
Mozart 12 Variations on “Ah,vous dirai je Maman”K.265 and the six pieces that make up Liszt Annees de Pelerinage : Premiere annee:Suisse.
Some remarkable virtuosity aided and abetted by Liszt but it was the more concealed ,refined virtuosity in Mozart`s “Baba black sheep ” variations that was even more astonishing.
Beautiful sound from this Steinway Grand that now resides where once Sir Thomas Beecham’s noble old instrument lay.
Such a perfectly pure simple statement of the well known children’s melody ~ so much for Schnabels famous remark about being too easy for children and too difficult for adults.
The clarity and purity of sound was astonishingly maintained in the set of variations that follows.
Some amazingly intricate left hand figurations played with an easy charm and sense of style that one can understand what Schnabel might have been insinuating in lesser hands.
Here there was an innocent virtuosity and a very sparing use of pedal that allowed these intricate figurations to weave their magical web around this little nursery melody with such grace and ease.
Some beautiful shaping and sense of colour in the slower variation with an ornamentation in such impeccable style that one was hardly aware of the intelligent musicianship of this young pianist.
After his success a few weeks ago with the multi award winning Manchester Camerata in that noble cities`reborn cathedral it was good to be able to hear a solo recital in an equally noble edifice in the centre of London.
No hidden virtuosity in Liszt and Iyad certainly showed us that he was more than ready for the fray.
Orage showed off his transcendental octaves in a great display of the Romantic passion of a young Liszt in Switzerland with his great love.
Even in the strenuous passages the musical line was always foremost and this most underestimated of pieces was restored to the place where it really belongs.
It takes a real musician to play Liszt well.
It is all too easy to hide behind the rhetoric and seemingly bombastic technical demands.
It was Guido Agosti,whose mentor was Busoni, who would treat the scores of Liszt with the same respect as with Beethoven or Mozart.
A tradition passed down through pianists such as Claudio Arrau, Alfred Brendel and Leslie Howard who hardly surprising is Iyad`s actual mentor.
Iyad having studied from the age of fourteen at Chethams under that amazing power house that is Murray McLachlan and now perfecting his studies at Trinity Laban under Martino Tirimo and Peter Tuite is maturing into an artist to be reckoned with.
Opening the Liszt with the bold dramatic statement that is in the Chapelle de Guillaume Tell followed by the three most poetic pieces almost Mozartian in their simplicity.
The gentle rippling of the water in the left hand figuration of Au lac de Wallenstadt. The beauty of the sound and sense of balance could have been even more telling with a more constant less disturbed ripple of these tranquil waters.
The well known Au bord d`une source played with all the charm and grace with some delicate jeu perle filligree that could have benefited from a little more time to wend its magic way to perfection as this little jewel can do.
Pastorale whose innocent almost native charm made up the middle section of this totally satisfying whole that makes up Liszt`s magical description of the joys of youth in Switzerland
All leading to the final great statement that is the great poem of the Vallee d`Obermann.
Prefaced by a poem with the great question of Renaissance man:
Who am I,what am I ,where am I going.
A great Romantic poem with a complete range of emotions.
From the most intimate to the most flamboyantly rhetorical.
The magical middle section leading to a most gloriously romantic outpouring of a young virtuoso on the crest of a wave.
With the same physical virtuosity and passion that was on show today and brought this capacity audience spontaniously to their feet at the end of the strenuous emotions that this young man had so simply shared with them.

All things bright and beautiful Asia Jimenez at the RCM

All things bright and beautiful Asia Jimenez for the RCM.
Beauty everywhere in the V&A for the recital in the Globe of Asia Jiménez Antón de Vez and Alison Rhind with some remarkable page turning from Christopher Axworthy!
An amazingly active week for the very fine young Spanish violinist Asia Jimenez.
Having graduated with an honours degree in 2015 from the Conservatory in her home city of Barcelona she is now perfecting her studies in London at the Royal College of Music.
Playing a magnificent Gagliano violin kindly loaned by a private benefactor and having just returned from the prestigious Prussia Cove Chamber Music seminar.
This week alone she rappresented the RCM as one of their top students in a Masterclass of Alina Ibragimova, a concert promoted by the RCM in the Victoria and Albert Museum and a Mozart concerto appearance in the Super String Day Series in the main concert hall of the RCM.
A very stimulating Masterclass with the Russian born Alina Ibragimova.Whom having received her very early training from the famous Gnesin School in Moscow went on to study at the Menuhin School and the RCM in the UK.
Working together as colleagues on the Beethoven Spring Sonata which Asia was to play in recital the next day at the V&A.
A new initmate space called the Globe was the venue for an early evening concert in this most beautiful and fascinating of all museums for all those looking for beauty through the ages.
So what more logical than to have an hour recital of wonderful music surrounded by some beautiful and exotic looking instruments on display in the gallery.
In fact just in view was a Stradivarius violin that was crying out to be played not just displayed!
I remember Ruggiero Ricci recording all 24 Caprices on Paganini’s own violin held in the town hall in Genoa where Paganini was born and being allowed only a few minutes to try the violin before the recording such is the fear of owning such a priceless instrument. Understandable but hardly fair as Paganini’s violin is much bigger than the normal instruments and the Caprices notoriously difficult to play.
However Asia’s beautiful sounding Gagliano was just right for the atmosphere that this wooden frame created. In the rather high ceilinged galleries this gave just the feel of being in an intimate warm space with the audience seated all around the inside of this oval space and the piano and violin playing in the round to the audience both in and out of the oval.
Some fine duo playing with the pianist Alison Rhind very much the equal partner in an exchange of musical views with the violinist.
Brahms’s Scherzo from the FAE sonata was given a performance of great rhythmic precision combined with a delicacy for detail with the great passionate outbursts that are so typical of Brahms .
It was interesting to hear now the whole of the “Spring ” sonata op 24 by Beethoven that had been discussed in the masterclass the day before.
Just the right choice for this initmate atmosphere for one of Beethovens most refreshingly melodic of Violin Sonatas
In fact similar also in period to the simple almost Mozart like melodic invention of the Piano Sonata op 28 known as the Pastoral.
The exchange of the melody from the violin to the piano was played with a simplicity and directness that makes this one of the purest of all Beethoven’s Violin Sonatas.
Of course with Beethoven there are always clouds on the horizon and these were played with all the necessary verve and precision allowing great contrasts between the two sides to Beethoven’s complex character.
Some very beautiful playing passing first from the piano then to the violin in the sublime Adagio molto espressivo with some almost breathless,hardly whispered comments from the violin.
 Perfect ensemble in the Scherzo played at a real Allegro molto with great technical assurance leading after this passing cloud to the most radiant of Rondos. Played with just the right almost nostalgic inflection in a fascinating interplay between violin and piano.
Debussy’s elusive sonata was played with great verve and style but of course on such a small piano the overall magic sound world of Debussy appeared a bit dry.
However the De Falla Suite populaire espagnole that ended this short recital was played with all the flair and infectious virtuosity by this beautiful and talented young violinist. Seconded by some very robust and passionate sounds from a piano that in the Debussy had seemed rather inadequate .
And only a few days later The Super String Day at the RCM . A five hour marathon which included the five violin concertos by Mozart.
The soloists one of whom was Asia (very finely projected slow movement of the 4th concerto) accompanying their colleagues in the very fine mainly string orchestra inbetween taking turns to play the solo part.
What a perfect training for these young musicians and what a feast of music for those lucky enough to be invited to listen to them.

Music and musicians in Ealing

Tamila Salimdjanova in Ealing
Prokofiev second piano concerto with Tamila Salimdjanova and the Ealing Symphony Orchestra under John Gibbons
There must be something about the air in Ealing that not a day passes without the most stimulating musical surprises.
Yesterday the extraordinary recital by Vitaly Pisarenko and today Prokofiev Second Piano Concerto ,probably the hardest concerto in the piano repertoire ,with Tamila Salimdjanova and the Ealing Symphony as winner of their annual concerto competition.
I do not think it a coincidence that they are both students in the class of Dmitri Alexeev winner of the Leeds Piano Competition and star student of Dmitri Bashkirov who at 85 has just spent a week giving seminars at the RCM extolling the bravura of his ex student now one of their top professors.
Surprise,surprise Alexeev is long time resident in Ealing along with that other superb pianist and winner of the Leeds competition Murray Perahia.
One was immediatley struck but the magnificent sound from this old but noble Boesendorfer. In the supremely confident hands of Salimdjanova she swept the orchestra along with her in a performance that had a great sense of direction and rhythmic impulse.
The first movement cadenza built from a murmur to a tumultuous climax where the orchestral brass came magnificently into their own.
The moto perpetuo of the second movement played without a hitch which says much not only for the transcendental playing of Tamila but also the total command of this good but amateur orchestra under their fine conductor John Gibbons.
The conductor who managed to coordinate the ensemble in this very complex work of Prokofiev that at the first performance in 1913 had scandalised its audience who left in drones.
Instead tonight in Ealing there was a real ovation from this large packed out church of St Barnabas and appreciation of the mastery of this waif like young pianist.
Some beautifully sensitive things from Tamila.
In fact the opening of the first movement had been quite magical.
The seemingly effortless power that she could then produce without any hardness always listening and fitting in with the ensemble could be quite overpowering.
No encore possible after a performance like that as the insistent audience understood too.
What a tour de force it had been.
Very interesting choice of programme too.
Opening with the difficult Pines of Rome by that master orhestrator Respighi .
The second half saw a performance of the Second Symphony op.116 by John Gardner.
I well remember him at the RAM with his rugged good looks that were much admired by the ladies.
He was also good friend and admirer of my first teacher Sidney Harrison.
In fact it was John who read the eulogy at his funeral arranging during the ceremony a recording of the deceased Sidney’s performance of Funerailles by Liszt.
He had that sense of humour.
The Symphony written too around this time in 84/85.
For many years I played his amusing arrangement of the March Militaire that he had written for Sidney Harrison’s 80th Birthday concert to be played together by an ex student Ian Hobson,also winner of the Leeds.
I got to play it to my other teacher Guido Agosti in Siena who was very amused and impressed.
I had no idea that John Gardner had been such a prolific composer and I think that here in Ealing it is the first time I have seen his name on a concert programme.
Nice to read that his performance of the drunken bar pianist in Wozzeck in 1951 became the stuff of legend!
To read also of his work with Karl Rankl for the newly formed Covent Garden Company and early performances of his first Symphony under Barbirolli.
His last work a bassoon Concerto op.249 completed in 2004 and that he died at the ripe old age of 94 in 2011.
Hats off to the orchestra for such interesting programmes and wonderful to know that they will be playing in one of Italy’s most magical cities- Lucca- in July.

Vieni,vedi….vinci ….a knight in shining armour conquers in London


Extraordinarily  fine  and perceptive review of a magnificent concert at the Royal Festival Hall in London as part of the short European tour of Pappano’s magnificent cohorts – The Orchestra of S.Cecilia of Rome.

This week another great pianist Mitsuko Uchida with Pappano with the Schumann Piano Concerto.

Only in Rome in the magnificent halls designed by Renzo Piano of Shard fame .

Lucky Rome !


Totally agree …..thank goodness we are not alone dear Norma Fisher

But in the end there was no business like show business……Wang on the rampage before the interval  and Pappano even upstaging the diva thanks to his Lone Ranger of Rossini William Tell Overture.

But in between some sublime playing from all concerned.
Valse Triste incredible in its flexibility of every instrument listening to the other…..amazingly moving seemingly impossible ensemble ….but then they all have a heart that beats together in syntonia  with their knight in shining armour

Tonight in London at the Royal Festival Hall 19.30

Wang and Pappano in Rome CHRISTOPHER AXWORTHY·VENERDÌ 28 APRILE 20175 letture Che festa al Parco della Musica oggi con Yuja Wang and Antonio Pappano at S.Cecilia tonight at the start of their Europ…