Asagi Nakata at St Mary’s Perivale

Asagi Nakata at St Mary’s Perivale
Asagi Nakata at St Mary`s Perivale
The final concert before the Summer break in Hugh Mather’s remarkable series and with even more marvels promised for next season.
And here are three more chronicles about recent events Chez Dr Hugh Mather:
Some very musicianly playing from this young english trained japanese pianist .
One of the two english trained pianists to be accepted for the Utrecht Liszt Competition in October after worldwide auditions to select the best handful of competitiors .
A competition that Vitaly Pisarenko(See above chronicle n.3) won at the age of 20!
The other british pianist selected Alexander Ullman has already won the Liszt Bartok competition when he too was 20.
So hats off to Asagi Nakata for winning a place amongst such prestigious competition.
Having moved to the UK at only eight months she wasted no time in seeking out and studying with the finest teachers at the Royal Academy Junior and Senior Departments.
Ian Jones,Tatiana Sarkissova and Christopher Elton are a formidable group indeed.
They have helped Asagi acquire a solid musicianship looking intently into the scores to find the true meaning of the composers intentions but also maintaining her own fantasy and originality added to  an accomplished technical command of the instrument.
What they could not do was to give Asagi a bigger hand !
But like that other pianist with small hands Alicia De Larrocha- where there is a will there is always a way.
A very interesting programme all intelligently and charmingly introduced to a full hall for the final concert of the season.
The best performance in a very fine,intelligent Liszt recital was kept for the encore .
It was infact Beethoven .
The slow movement from the Pathetique Sonata played with sentiment but without sentimentality .
A fraction on the fast side for my taste that made the triplet accompaniment appear a little too agitated for the Adagio Cantabile indication of Beethoven.
However some beautifully shaped phrasing and very delicate tone colours .
The all Liszt programme started with Sposalizio and Sonnetto del Petrarca n.47 from the Deuxieme de Annee de Pelerinage Italie .
Some beautiful musicianly shaped performances especially in the delicate sections of these two extraordinary pieces.
Sposalizio inspired by Raphael’s “The Marriage of the Virgin” housed in the Pinacoteca di Brera.
Starting and ending very quietly building to a climax with a left hand accompaniment of octaves that Asagi never allowed to overpower the melodic line .
It was the same sense of line combined with passionate involvement that was so convincing in the Sonetto n.47 that followed.
The great tone poem that is Vallee d’Obermann from book One of the Annees and based on the Poem by Senancour with the great romantic questions:”Who am I ,what do I want,what do I ask of nature ” .
Some beautiful things especially in the quieter sections.
The stormy octaves and the great climax were a little strained due to the size of Asagi’s hand .
The driving rhythm on which the melody floats triumphantly to its inevitable rhetorical end was not allowed to flow as naturally as it could in the hands of a great virtuoso.
This is the music of a Horowitz or an Arrau .
Strange that Rubinstein begged his prize protegee never to play it in public….he too realised that this was music that could only be unleashed by a chosen few.
Inspite of this limitation Asagi gave a very accomplished and musicianly performance .
The Reminiscences des Puritains S.390 was played with great flair and evident enjoyment.
The slightly coquettish rubato did not convince entirely as I feel she was not totally convinced herself.
Some beautifully shaped Bellinian melodies with a great sense of balance and colour .
A tumultuous totally convincing ending brought a standing ovation and a suitable ending to Dr Mathers very remarkable mosaic of some of the finest talents in the land .
If anyone wants to find a kaleidoscope of pianistic talent in London they should head straight for this beautiful little church in Perivale so passionately programmed by Dr Mather and his team of real music lovers intent on helping great young talents to take another step up the ladder in their quest for recognition and appreciative audiences.
Heaven helps those who help themselves and the sense of enjoyment and concentration in these afternoon concerts is indeed very unusual and a joy to behold.
“A lifes work nobly done” is the very apt inscription on one of the stones outside in this oasis in the middle of Ealing Golf Course just 30 minutes from the centre of London . Q.E.D.

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