Swan Song in Paradise Jamal Aliyev and Maria Tarasewicz at the 1901 Arts Club
Sold out 1901 Arts Club for the recital by Jamal Aliyev fast making a name for himself as one of the finest cellist of his generation.
Already having won every award from the RCM where he studies with Thomas Carroll having previously studied with him from an early age at the Menuhin School .
This year has seen his Proms debut as well as being solist only a few days ago at the RFH with the Philharmonia .
Selected to be one of YCAT’s prestigious young artists he has already recorded his first CD of Russian Masters to great acclaim on the Champs Hill label .
His debut in the 2018 Enescu Festival at the Atheneum in Bucharest will be broadcast live by Medici.
He still finds time for his Masters degree,a three year course which he has just embarked on this autumn at the RCM.
Winner of the Arts Club- Sir Karl Jenkins Award he appeared in this delightfully secluded oasis in the centre of London with the magnificent pianist Maria Tarasewicz with whom he has shared the platform for the past few years.
This house just off Waterloo is inspired by the Salon Culture in Europe with beautifully decorated rooms designed to re- create the initimate ambiance of a private residence.
As the critics have noted:
” Walking past,you probably wouldn’t guess there was a recital room here. Truly lovely hosts,nineteenth century salon vibe and bar upstairs, Check it out ,its a real gem”
And “gems ” there were indeed last night in a varied recital from Bach to Shchedrin.
This may very well be their swan song together for Jamal now being a YCAT artist where birds of a feather are expected to flock together!
Promoted for the past three years by the indefatigable Canan Maxton and her Talent Unlimited,which promotes and oversees the early stages of the careers of exceptionally talented young artists.
I have heard these two young artists together in these past three years many times but tonight as talented artists with the right guidance can do,there was a maturity and authority added to their passionate total commitment to the music.
Starting on his own Jamal gave great weight and authority to the magnificent opening Prelude of the Solo Cello Suite n.3 in Cmajor BWV1009.
A great opening statement that filled this hall with the glorious sounds of his 1756 Giovanni Battista Gabrielli.
The 45 people privileged to be present knew immediately that here was an artist to be reckoned with indeed.
Great sense of dance in the Allemande was followed by a Courante that I found ran too fast for comfort to allow the music to unfold naturally as in the Bouree and Gigue that followed.
The Sarabande of course was sublime indeed as a contrast to the Courante.
As with all great artists everything falls into place and he almost convinced me that the contrast between the Courante and the Sarabande was right in the end!
I wish he could have abandoned the score as he did later in the programme to give him all the freedom that his innate musicianship and intelligence demand .
In fact a free reign like a throughbread free to roam in the wonderland that Bach sets before us.
Following with the Rococo Variations by Tchaikowsky in which Maria Tarasewicz joined forces with him in a sumptuous performance played with all the passion and fire that comes only with youth.
Abandoning the score this time Jamal was free to allow the music to pour out of him directly via the magnificent sounds of his cello which he imbued with a great sense of weight even in the most subtle cantabile passages .
His faithful orchestra filling in with all the colours and sounds of a symphony orchestra.
It lead to a very exciting exchange between solist and orchestra which was greeted by an ovation from this very attentive audience.
During the interval we were invited by our host to see the terrace on the floor above the intimate salon and bar where I was able to meet many of Jamal and Maria’s admirers and friends.
It is that sort of place.
I even encountered Jamal and Maria on the narrow staircase and of course they asked me if I would turn pages for the rather complicated Chopin Sonata for duo that was to follow.
Asked why he played on such an old instrument.
Could he not afford a new one?
I did not wait for what I expect was a most charmingly amused reply.
And charm there was indeed from Maria and Jamal in the duo Sonata in Gminor op 65 by Chopin.
A real conversation between equals .
A birds eye view from the page turner I could not judge perfectly their performance but I could see and appreciate with what commitment, passion and technical mastery these two young artists had given to this once much neglected chamber work of Chopin.
In fact only one of nine works for instruments other than piano written by Chopin .
Dedicated to the french cellist,friend of Mendelssohn,Auguste Franchomme dedicatee of the Sonata.
He played the last three movements with the composer in Chopin’s last public concert on the 16th February 1848 at the Salle Pleyel .
He had also collaborated with Chopin on his Grand Duo Concertant and rewrote the cello part of his youthful Polonaise Brillante op 2.
Alkan too dedicated his cello sonata to Franchhomme who died of a massive heart attack shortly after receiving the Legion d’honneur at the age of 75.
He rarely left Paris.
Beautifully shaped Largo ,the cello singing out the melody and very attentively accompanied and commented on by the piano.
The Final Allegro played with great virtuosity from both in a perfectly matched duo performance.
In the famous “Vocalise” by Rachmaninov Jamal allowed his magnificent instrument to fill the room with the finely shaped melodic line that only Rachmaninov could spin.
Sumptuous piano accompaniment from a pianist composer who like Chopin really understood the capabilities to sing of their instrument.
Full of the nostalgia ,passion and yearning for his homeland as like Chopin he had been forced to abandon in his youth.
Shchedrin’s virtuoso piece In the style of Albeniz op 52 brought this magical evening to a transcendental close.
These were in fact the encores enclosed in a programme that was finely thought out by these two remarkable artists.