Frederic Bager at St James’s Beethoven Piano Society of Europe
Frederic Berger at St James`s Piccadilly for the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe
Some extraordinarily beautiful playing from this young British/Swiss pianist.
Graduate with honours of the RCM under the guidance of Andrew Ball .
He is now studying at the RAM on a “Kulturprozent” artist’s promotion programme of the Swiss retail company ,Migros.
Under the guidance of Ian Fountain,the youngest winner at the age of 19 of the 1989 Arthur Rubinstein Competition, it was hardly surprising to marvel at the complete intellectual and technical control on this not easy Fazioli Piano.
Already a recipient of the Kendall Taylor Beethoven Prize at the RCM Frederic Berger opened his lunchtime concert for the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe Series with Beethoven’s most gently poetic Sonata op 28 “Pastorale”.
A wonderful sense of texture in which the percussive nature of the piano was concealed by a masterly control of balance that gave this gentle sonata the same impact that Alicia De Larrocha used to achieve in her regular performances of this work so much loved by Beethoven himself .
The calm before the storm indeed because this op 28 is then followed by the op 31 sonatas of which n.2 is indeed named the ” Tempest”.
Some beautiful shadings and subtle phrasing allied to a sense of architecture that was not easy to achieve on this usually rather bright piano.
His exceptional control of balance was even more noticeable in the Scriabinesque meanderings of Berg’s great Sonata op 1.
Such a clear sense of line that I have rarely heard in this Sonata but allied to a very senstive colour palate .
The line created by allowing the melody as such to shine out with very subtle strands all around never once allowing them to overpower the line that usually has to struggle to survive.
It was all so remarkably clear today.
Anyone who has played or heard others play this Sonata will know what a transcendental technique is required but above all ears that listen so attently to every sound that Berg fills the air with.
This lead to exceptionally passionate climax but never allowing the texture to harden or distort.
Gesange der Fruhe op 133 one of Schumann’s very elusive last works was here given a reading where for the first time I began to understand at last Agosti’s passionate love of this piece.
Agosti would play as only he could in his studio in Siena and Rome the beautiful bewegt extolling in his inimitable way the shere beauty that was to be found.
Much as we heard it today from this young man’s passionate but ultra sensitive hands.
The dotted rhythms that in Schumann can all too often be so tiresome were here given a shape and colour that was for once totally convincing.
After the beauty of Schumann’s last utterings in the hands of this poet of the keyboard it was not possible to expect any more from a very attentive audience that included the Chairman of the Beethoven Society Julian Jacobson.
Himself about to embark on a series of four recitals for his 70th Birthday celebrations starting in St Johns on the 22nd October.