Mishka Rushdie Momen at St Mary’s

The Bells of St Mary’s Mishka Rushdie Momen
Mishka Rushdie Momen at St Mary`s Perivale This must be London`s best kept secret.
A wonderful meal in a comfortably civilised Farmhouse Inn.
Eat as much as you like ~ or can!~for under ten pounds.
Scrupulously clean with attentive caring young personnel.
The same caring people who surround Felicity and Hugh Mather,both doctors sharing their love of music and providing the ideal conditions and opportunity to perform for some of the most talented up and coming young musicians in London.
Three or four concerts a week in St Mary`s Tuesday at 14h,Wednesday at 19.30 and Sunday at 15h. And at the sister church of St Barnabas on Friday at 13h.
Each concert professionally video recorded and every artist paid a performing fee.
Hugh was passing around a Questionnaire Survey on how they could improve.
Improve on that dear Hugh not on this earth!
Today after a sumptuous Sunday roast we were treated to the exquisite playing of Mishka Rushdie Momen .
Her Uncle is the famous writer Salman Rushdie.
As Hugh explained she has been playing for his series regularly since that first concert as part of the Purcell School when she was only 16.
Now 9 years later still only in her mid twenties she has received accolades from some of the finest musician pianists of our age.
Having studied with Joan Havill and Imogen Cooper at the Guildhall and periodically with Richard Goode she has attracted the attention of Sir Andras Schiff.
Not only inviting her to his Masterclasses in Gstaad but also to play in his “Building Bridges” Series offering her recitals in New York,Zurich,Antwerp, Germany and Italy.
In fact her superb sense of balance and legato allied to an exquisitely​ intelligent musicality that allows the music to speak so naturally reminds me of the fourteen year old Schiff studying with us in the class of the much missed Andre Tchaikowsky in Dartington fifty years ago.
The wondrous sense of legato in Chopin`s 3rd Ballade was the envy of us all!
A musicians programme played like the consummate musician she is.
The finest performance for me today were the “Ghost” variations WoO24 by Schumann. In fact one of Schumann`s last works on a theme that came to the dying composer sent by the Angels.
The same theme that was used in his violin concerto discovered long after his death by Menuhin .
In fact it was in a seance in 1933 that Joachims two grand nieces Jelly d’Aranyi and Adila Fachiri were directed to the Prussian State Library where Joachim had left the manuscript saying it should not be played for 100 years.
As the copyright was German property the first performance was given by Georg Kulenkampff and the Berlin Philharmonic on 26th November 1937.
Menuhin gave the second performance at Carnegie Hall in the violin and piano version on 6th December that year.
Jelly d’Aranyi ( dedicatee of Ravel Tzigane) gave the first London performance with the BBC Philharmonic in Queens Hall.
The same theme used by Brahms too for his Variations on a theme by Schumann.
The composer tried to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge into the Rhine but was saved in time and managed to finish these very delicate variations that his adored Clara kept locked in her drawer for many years after his death a short while later.
That great musician Menahem Pressler has taken them into his repertoire in his 90`s.
In fact they are very much twilight musings of sublime beauty.
Playing from the score ,this work that is new to Mishka`s repertoire was a sort of work in progress.
I can not wait to hear the work when it is fully absorbed into her mind and soul.
Some wonderful sounds in which this heaven sent melody was allowed to sing no matter how intricate its surrounds.
A feat of great artistry in which art conceals art.
The same artistry which allowed the two Albeniz pieces from Iberia “El Puerto” and “Triana” to sing in such a joyous sunny way.
Never having to force the tone ,she was able to find the ideal sheen of the land of sun and manyana.
The Mozart Rondo in A minor found an ideal interpreter where the innocent Rondo theme appeared with all the innocence pregnant with meaning that makes Mozart`s quality rather than quantity so hard for the interpreter.
“Too easy for children but too difficult for adults” according to Schnabel.
“You are a musician not a pianist” said Leschetizky of his pupil Schnabel.
What greater compliment could one receive indeed?
The Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor BWV 903 opened the programme.
The Fantasia I found a bit too fragmented but then with the recitativos she seemed to bring the fragments together bringing the fantasia to an unusually moving ending before embarking on the fugue played with great clarity and sense of line.
The final work in this full Sunday afternoon recital programme to a sold out hall was Schumann’s great Sonata in F sharp minor op 11.
This is a very long and difficult work and was played with all the sense of shape and colour necessary but missed the sense of passionate urgency and almost operatic showmanship that was so much part of Annie Fischer’s historic performances .
In fact it was the last work that Annie Fischer played in my theatre in Rome and she followed it with the most nakedly passionate performance of L’Isle Joyeuse.
The opening is pure opera but it also leads into the Allegro and this sense of forward drive was missing in an extremely musical account where the actual almost savage spirit was denied.
One needs great reserves to be able to play this work as a Fischer or a Gilels otherwise it can sound like a series of beautiful episodes without any great architectural line.
In fact the middle section in the last movement was sublime as was the beautiful Aria today.
Let us not forget though that Schumann broke his fingers in trying to improve his technique and his works are of transcendental difficulty because they must sound as though there are always infinite reserves available.
After an afternoon of such wonderful music making no encore was possible so we passed immediately to the tea and homemade cakes which is all part of the Sunday afternoon St Mary’s ritual.
Felicity at the helm in the kitchen and Hugh playing host to his enchanted guests.

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