Julian Trevelyan Work in Progress at St Mary’s

Julian Trevelyan Work in progress at St Mary’s
Julian Trevelyan at St Mary`s
It is always refreshing to be in the presence of true intelligence.
Everything is simplified in the logic and wish to communicate and share information with others.
I have heard Julian Trevelyan on many other occasions since being curious to hear the 16 year old who had taken everyone by surprise in 2015 sweeping the board to win top prize in the Long Thibaud Crespin International Competition in Paris.
Knowing that Stephen Kovacevich,that great musician,star pupil of Dame Myra Hess,was chairman of the jury made me even more anxious to hear him.
As you can see from the links below I was as impressed as obviously that jury had been by the simple unaffected musicianship allied to a remarkable command of the keyboard. An intelligence that was apparent from his musicianship even before talking to him.
Genius is always surprising and so it was today that I was pleasantly taken by surprise by the “work in progress” that was offered by this now 19 year old young man eager to share his musical discoveries with whoever was willing to listen.
I have only had that same experience in the past few years from Daniil Trifonov and to a slightly lesser extent from Olli Mustonen .
It is both refreshing and exhausting for us mortals.
Always surprising however.
Very eloquently introducing the programme that he admitted he had wanted to prepare instead of just regaling us with facts.
But what facts!
Did we know of the quotes of the St John and Matthew Passions in Beethoven op.110 that Julian considers Beethovens triumph over death?
Or likening L`Isle Joyeuse (that incidentally was written by Debussy on a trip to Jersey) to Scriabin Vers la flamme in its reaching out to the sun.
Or Granados never arriving in America to play The Maiden and the nightingale, which had been transformed into an opera, as his boat was torpedoed in the first world war.
And many other interesting points thrown in with a charm and innocence that was very refreshing.
A new programme still in gestation and so playing from the score with his ever vigilant father turning pages.
Let us say straight away that most convincing performances were those where he did not use the score.
The first movement of Mozart Sonata in F K. 333,offered as an encore, was remarkable for its almost Horowitzian sense of colour and flexibility always allied to a complete understanding of the style.The delicious embellishments so tantalizingly hinted at.
A Brahms Intermezzo in C op 119 n.3 was played with that infectious sense of rhythmic pulse and a quite extraordinary ending that I have only heard before from Curzons’ hands.
Ligeti “Die Zauberlehrling” even if the score was before him there was no way he could have looked at it whilst coping with Ligetis’ quite outrageous demands.
Of course, as to be expected, a very interesting programme that started with Alborada del gracioso from Miroirs by Ravel.
Usually a finishing piece but not for our artist today who wanted it to be a wake up call for him and for us!
It certainly was that with the double note glissandi dispatched with ease.
Great rhythmic precision and very clean and clear, the magic will come as he grows with it.
A very beautiful rarely heard Adagio in E major D.612 by Schubert probably the slow movement of the unfinished Sonata in C D.613.
Beautiful “fioritura” almost Bellini like bel canto reminiscent of the refined use in Chopin.
Beethoven’s penultimate Sonata op 110 so interestingly introduced was played cleanly and clearly with some beautiful cantabile playing.
This will eventually be a great performance and is obviously very dear to his heart but with a very precise road plan in mind.
Still in early stages it lacked the ebb and flow that this above all the Sonatas of Beethoven needs.Like a plasma where Beethoven enters into regions where few if any before have dared to enter.
Etherial is the key word for this sonata and Julian still has his feet very firmly planted on the ground.
New “ground ” for Julian Trevelyan and his recent discovery of the enormous amount of keyboard works by Byrd.
A very clear performance of the especially difficult ornamentation on an instrument that was yet to be discovered .No use of either pedal – the two feet very firmly resting!
We discussed it afterwards and I asked him why did he want to play these works on the piano if it was not to subtly use all the colours and sounds of the piano which in a way substitute the stops of the original instrument for which they were written?
The most prolific composer for the keyboard until the arrival of Scarlatti surely the colours of the piano could be an addition to the composers extraordinary invention .
The Scarlatti of Horowitz or even Sudbin sprang to mind.
The Maiden and the Nightingale and Debussy’s L’Isle Joyeuse brought this very interesting programme to a close.
Without being tied to the score these works will gain in all the colour and excitement that we were treated to in the two extra works played by public demand.
Numerous public that had braved the snow storm that was raging outside this beautiful little wooden church that has become the haven for anyone interested in great piano playing.
Much looking forward to hearing the definitive performances from this thinking musician in the near future.

                                                   Julian Trevelyan

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