Deniz Arman Gelenbe and friends All About Mozart final concert in the Mozart Focus Series at St John`s Smith Square this afternoon
Lovely to see Deniz Arman Gelenbe rushing off after her magnificent performances of Mozart to catch up on the latest of the French Elections.
Especially as St John’s Smith Square in the shadow of Big Ben had been subject to a bomb from the suffragettes attempting to have a vote for women long before Mr Hitler almost flattened this noble edifice during the second world war.
Deniz Gelenbe is a lady who knows where she is going as was obvious from the very stylish performances that she gave with her colleagues from Trinity Laban where she was for many years the very distinquished head of Piano.
Now handing over that post to a younger colleague,Peter Tuite, she is free to dedicate herself more to public performances .
Having studied herself with some very distinguished musicians at Julliard School in New York: Adele Marcos,Rudolf Ganz ,Cecile Gerhart and our never forgotten friend Gyorgy Sandor who had played and given masterclasses in my theatre in Rome for many years In fact Deniz was very touched to see the foto that sits on my piano posted here of Gyorgy with my wife after one of his numerous concerts for us in Rome.
A programme based on three piano and violin sonatas with Michael Bochmann who I well remember from my student days at The Royal Academy .
A disciple of that very gentle and much admired violinist Frederick Grinke who together with David Martin were the very finest violin teachers at that time.
Embodying all the principles of his mentors that have included Sandor Vegh,Henryk Szering and playing Bach Double Concerto on tour in the USA with Yehudi Menuhin.
In the three violin violin sonatas that were generously offered today there was a very real musical dialogue between two musicians totally dedicated to the genial music that they had before them.
Playing with the lid of the piano fully open ,the violin using the sound board of the piano to help amalgamate the sound .
Never overpowering the violin but producing the most beautiful sounds that allowed the two instruments to blend into one. Thus making nonsense of the traditional way in that period of publishing the Sonatas as ” Pour clavecin ou forte piano avec accompagnement d’un violon”.
A tradition carried on well into the times of Brahms by the way.
The early Sonata in G K.301 played with such charm and colour .
The extreme delicacy of the piano found the perfect partner with the violin and there was a real dialogue between them that was fascinating to follow.
The two later Sonatas in B flat K.454 and in F K.376 very stylishly played even if I felt the dramatic element was rather played down in an attempt to give a sheen and wonderful sense of line to these much more complex works.
It was a small price to pay for such wondrous sounds that allowed us to be completely seduced by these genial rather lesser known works of Mozart.
The sense of colour allied to a complete technical command and perfect realisation of the intricate ornamentation of Deniz Gelenbe reminded me of that other much missed lady of the keyboard Alicia De Larrocha.
No histrionics but total concentration on the sounds that they were producing together.
In fact it was refreshing to overhear a conversation in which two members of the public were reminiscing and remarking what a great similarity there was.
They could not remember the name of the other pianist but for me it was already on the tip of my tongue.
Remarkable sense of colour and a very sensitive dynamic range from Michael Bochmann allowed a very attentive audience to wallow in this feast of real music making.
In the final work on the programme, and in this series, was the great Piano Quartet n.2 in E flat K.493.
Joined by their disitnguished colleagues Rivka Golani,viola and Vanessa Lucas-Smith ,violoncello suddenly we seemed to be plunged into another world.
Such was the dramatic impact of the performance and real bodily partecipation of all concerned the very thing that I felt had been missing in the solo sonatas previously.
Michael Bochmann now in a passionate discourse with the dynamic Rivka Golani,who seemed almost to have a cello under her chin such was the size of her beautiful viola.
All totally involved in a performance both of drama and sublime melodic invention .
The piano totally integrated in the robust but always stylish sounds being produced.
Vanessa Lucas-Smith always in total contact discreetly sustaining them when necessary and coming into her own on the few occasions that Mozart offers .
The real participation from the viola of Rivka Golani seemed to inject just the right energy and rhythmic impulse that this masterpiece demands.
Flowers for the originator of this series from Oxford picked in the house where Vlado Perlemuter used to spend his summers .
It is good to note that this great pianist would never play Mozart in public although having recorded all the Piano Sonatas back in the 60’s.
Too difficult for adults and too easy children as Perlemuters mentor Schnabel use to remark.
In fact Perlemuter’s Peonies were a small offering for such courage and such a feast of music offered today
As Bruno Walter is quoted in the programme :”There is an angelic sphere that reveals itself in the beauty and perfection of Mozart’s music,in its exalted range of serenity and purity”.
A fitting description of what we were treated to today.