POINT AND COUNTERPOINT Chronicle of events of the Keyboard Charitable Trust from January to June 2018


Chronicle of events from January to June 2018

by Christopher Axworthy,  Co-Artistic  Director




What an amazingly busy and successful six months it has been for the KCT with tours in Italy, Germany and the USA and individual concerts throughout England, Cyprus and the Isle of Man.

All summed up so beautifully in an article penned by our founding father John Leech:  https://allaboutpiano.co/the-essential-keyboard-trust/

The year started in Viterbo with our annual recital at the Tuscia University for Prof. Ricci with Mark Viner who went on to play in the Teatro Ghione in Rome, the Teatro Comunale in Vicenza for the series ‘Incontro sulla Tastiera’ for Mariantonietta Righetto Sgueglia and in Venice, Padua and Abano Terme for AGIMUS, Padua directed by Elia Modenese. He gave the same programme as he was to present in the KCT Prize Winner’s concert at Wigmore Hall on 2 March 2018.

‘Mark Viner shows us how to transform the piano into an orchestra Superlative technical skill even in “forgotten” composers.’ — Eva Purelli, Vicenza

Here is my report of Mark Viner’s concerts in Italy:  https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2018/01/18/mark-viner-takes-italy-by-storm/

Whilst Mark was playing in the Palazzo Zacco-Armeni on a Sunday afternoon in January, another of our pianists André Gallo was playing in the morning in the historic Sala dei Giganti in a series for young Italian pianists organised by the renowned Amici della Musica with whom we also have an annual appointment.

Here are my thoughts on this performance: https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2018/01/22/andregallo-a-master-speaks-2/

After many years’ collaboration with Elia Modenese and AGIMUS, our presence was requested as part of the commission for the 15th Series of the International Prize for Soloists with Orchestra. The final was with the prestigious Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto, one of the finest chamber orchestras in Europe, in the Auditorium Pollini.

Here were my comments:  https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2018/01/28/citta-di-padua-international-prize-of-elia-modenese-and-elisabetta-gesuato-for-agimus-padova/

On 20 January Iyad Sughayer gave a well-received programme of Handel, Schubert/Tirimo and Liszt at the Newport Music Club in Shropshire.

On 8 February, IIya Kondratiev played in our ongoing series ‘Up Close — The Next Generation’  with the Principals of Manchester Camerata at the Stoller Hall in Manchester, repeated at The Muni in Colne on 9 February.  It was a concert for Valentine’s Day with the charming title of ‘Camerata in Love’.

Here were my comments:  https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/the-camerata-in-love/

On 20 February 2018, Vitaly Pisarenko gave the first recital in what we hope will become a prestigious new venue for the Trust:  the Parliament Chamber at the Temple in London. (This recital was initiated and encouraged by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, a KCT Trustee and member of Temple Garden Chambers.)

Here is my report: https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2018/02/22/the-supreme-mr-pisarenko/

Mark Viner gave the annual KCT Prizewinner’s Wigmore Hall recital on 2 March 2018, having performed all over Italy for the KCT during January 2018. The concert was in memory of the renowned music critic, Bill Newman, a generous benefactor to the KCT.

‘From his stronghold as the Chairman of both the Alkan and Liszt Societies of the United Kingdom, he goes on to reinstate these and other masters or forgotten virtuosi in their actual historical interaction. He thus contributes steadily to the enhancement of our conscious overview of 19th century piano playing and its influences from and to other genres, such as Literature and Art.’ –  Kyriakos P.Loukakos

And from Seen and Heard: http://seenandheard-international.com/2018/03/mark-viner-at-the-wigmore-hall-elicits-musings-on-virtuosity/.

And here were my thoughts:


On 23 March Ilya Kondratiev substituted at the last minute for an indisposed Mariam Batsashvili in Cyprus at the Pharos Shoe Factory of Garo Keheyan.

Yvonne Georgiadou, Artistic Director, wrote:

‘THANK YOU for introducing us to Ilya! Please express our utmost gratitude to the board of the KCT — you can even tell Mariam that we thank her because if it were not for her cancelation we might have never encountered such an amazing artist, or we might have been late in discovering him.

We have come across some really amazing piano talents in the last couple of years of our collaboration with the KCT, but I dare to say that Ilya is the most exceptional of all. I even dare to say…. I have been working as the Artistic Director of Pharos for over 12 years, and I have listened to countless pianists, some of them are considered amongst the most important names on the international scene. Never before did a pianist keep me locked on my seat, full of excitement from the beginning till the end. He is a fascinating artist. He enlivens the piano, he makes it sound like a full orchestra. It brings out all the colours, all the expressions and sentiments. There is so much character in his playing, and so many characters interacting with each other. He is not just technically exceptional but there is something about his general approach to the performance that cannot be captured on video or explained in words. Ilya should have been one of the biggest names in Europe right now. We will definitely invite him to Cyprus again, there is no question about it. Thank you, thank you again for introducing Ilya to us. I knew he would be a very talented young pianist, but nothing prepared me for such a revelation.’

On 21 April we were invited to recommend a KCT pianist for the Festival in Grosseto in Tuscany ‘Recondite Armonie’, now in its fifth year and run by Galina Chistiakova (a KCT artist) and her husband Diego Benocci.

The Artistic Directors selected André Gallo who gave a recital dedicated to the works of Debussy.

André and Galina (Gala), both colleagues from the famous music school in Imola will also perform together in a two piano programme of  Mozart, Schumann and Saint Saëns  on 4 October in our series ‘Up Close — The Next Generation’ with the Principals of Manchester Camerata.

Here is my report on Andre’s recital in Grosseto:


On 25 April Hin Yat Tsang played at the Bechstein Centrum in Frankfurt for long-standing KCT Friends, Sibylle and Patrick Rabut, who invite a KT pianist to perform in their Series twice every year.

These were their comments:

‘The concert is over and once more left an enthusiastic and overwhelmed public behind. Hin-Yat Tsang did a fantastic job with an exigent and challenging programme. Perhaps, rather too challenging … the twelve Scriabin Etudes were too much and it might have been better to start with three or four of the Etudes for warming up and then play the Beethoven Sonate No.28, Op. 101, which is a difficult one. The second half with Chopin and Rachmaninov was just marvellous as well as the Bach encore.’

Mariam Batsashvili gave two concerts in Germany — on 26 April at Steinway Hall in Cologne and on 27 April at the magnificent Orangery at Castle Rheda, organised by Trustee, Moritz von Bredow.

‘Mariam Batsashvili really is one of the best pianists the KT has ever supported. Her understanding of the music comes from an indescribable inner connection to each epoch … ‘ — Moritz von Bredow.

Here is his complete report:

https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2018/05/29/moritz-von-bredow-report-on-mariam-batsashvili-in-germany-april-2018/ .

Mariam will return to Germany to Steinway Hall in Hamburg on 5 July — to be followed by a Hauskonzert for Moritz von Bredow on 6 July — for which she will be playing the Goldberg Variations.  Prior to this concert she will fly to Virginia to give a recital to celebrate Dietlinde Turban Maazel’s marriage to Tony Wood on 1 July.

[Vitaly Pisarenko with our founding fathers John and Noretta Leech – and Trustee Evgeny Kissin.]

On 4 May, Vitaly Pisarenko gave the first concert in our new collaboration with the Erin Arts Festival on the Isle of Man. He went on to play at Hatchlands on 10 May in our new series organised by Elena Vorotko as part of her Historic Piano programme for the KCT.  He played on an historic 1864 Steinway from Alec Cobbe’s amazing collection.

Here were my comments:


Vitaly went on to play at the Chopin Society in London on 20 May as part of their series of Leeds top prize winners:


On 4 May Mark Viner played at the Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester for our series ‘Up Close— The Next Generation’ with members of Manchester Camerata, a concert repeated at Adbaston Concert Society in Staffordshire. These collaborative concerts are very much the brainchild of Geoffrey Shindler, our Chairman.  Now in its second year, the Series is proving an ever-growing success.



On 11 May at Steinway Hall we were proud to honour the Trustees of the Max Grünebaum Foundation, Cottbus with a recital by Sasha Grynyuk.

In John Leech’s own words: ‘Your visit allows us to acknowledge a vital bond we have shared with the City of Cottbus for the past 27 years: the Keyboard Trust in London owes as much of its existence to the hard work and generosity of Marion and Ellen Frank, as the creation of the magnificent Theatre that you help to sustain did to their grandfather Max Grünebaum.’


On 22 May André Gallo played in New York for us in a new venue on West 57th street — Parc Vendôme — born out of a last minute cancellation by Steinway Hall. One of the most knowledgeable critics in New York sent us a one line email after the concert: ‘STUPENDO ….!’

André went on to play for Beth Glendinning, ex-Assistant of Ormandy, in Philadelphia:

‘Hi — I just put André on the train to Wilmington, and miss him already.  It’s amazing — the way I bond with your pianists, and can’t bear to see them leave.  His concert was fabulous, with raves from the audience.  His talent and personality overwhelmed us.  I think he finally caught up with his sleep deprivation and jet lag, but none of that was evident in his playing.  He has a glorious technique and sound.  We want him to come back (on what would be his second trip to America), because he didn’t see enough of our country on this brief tour.  He appeared to enjoy the reception we gave post-concert.  He is so interesting, aside from his musical life, that everyone he met here was deeply impressed. All the best to you, and many thanks for sending this remarkable young man our way. Beth.’

[Photo of Beth Glendinning with Mark Viner from 2016.)

And for our friends in Cokesbury Village in Delaware: ‘Last night, Cokesbury Village was treated to another overwhelming performance by yet another gifted pianist sponsored by your splendid organization.  André Gallo played a wide ranging program that allowed us to appreciate both his extreme sensitivity and phenomenal touch in quieter pieces and his astonishing facility and power in more dramatic works.  In addition to his technical virtuosity he exhibited a delightfully ingratiating style in introducing each selection.  The standing ovation he received was whole hearted and much deserved.’

This winter, there were three Steinway Hall ‘auditions’ in London:

  • 28th February Adrian Brendle



  • 21st March Filip Michalak


  • 25th April Tomoki Sakata


Three extraordinary performances over the past months by ‘emeriti’ KCT artists may also be of interest:



  • Mihai Ritivoiu on 16 May at Cadogan Hall with the English Chamber Orchestra directed by Michael Collins and promoted by the City Music Foundation.

Mihai Ritivoiu performed Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No.2 and Michael Foyle performed Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No.1 — with an encore for piano and violin by Prokofiev.

‘The superb English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Michael Collins offered a splendid account of Tchaikovsky’s 4th Symphony – and there’s a great new CD of works by Liszt, Enescu and Cesar Franck.’ – C. Axworthy.


 Scots pianist, Yuanfan Yangyuanfanyang.com —  will be giving a recital at St Michael and all Angels in Adbaston, Staffordshire for Adbaston Concert Society on Sunday, 3 June featuring works by Beethoven, Chopin, Haydn, Brahms — and one of his own compositions:  Waves (from Three Aquarelles).

  Vitaly Pisarenko will be giving a performance of Ravel’s Piano Concerto with the London Mozart Players, conducted by Hilary Davan Wetton on Sunday, 17 June:

 Mention should also be made of our last audition before the summer on Wednesday, 20 June at Steinway Hall at 19.00 by Nicola Losito.

Having graduated with the highest honours, Italian pianist Nicola Losito, 22, is currently studying with Leonid Margarius at the Imola International Piano Academy ‘Incontri col Maestro’ and with Massimo Gon at the Giuseppe Tartini Music Conservatory in Trieste.
Nicola has won first prize in prestigious national and international competitions including the National Piano Competition ‘Muzio Clementi’ (Florence), the 6th Isidor Bajic Piano Memorial Competition Novi Sad (Serbia), the International Piano Competition ‘Dinu Lipatti’ (Bucharest).He has recorded two CDs for labels Amadeus and Movimento Classical. He has also recorded for Rai Radio 1, Radio Classica, Radio Vaticana and Sky. Since 2017, he has been President and Artistic Director of the Italian Philharmonic Association.


Etude Op.10 nos.1, 2, 3, 4 and 12
Etude Op.25 Nos.7 and 12
Sonata Hob.XVI:50
Faschingsschwank aus Wien Op.26

  • On Friday, 22 June (17.30) Vitaly Pisarenko will be performing with members of Manchester Camerata as part of Manchester’s Góbéfest, the UK’s only Transylvanian and Szekler Hungarian Festival of Arts and Culture. Vitaly will be playing Beethoven’s Piano Trio Op.70 ‘The Ghost’ and pieces by Bartók and Kodály.

Full details on this link:  http://www.manchestercamerata.co.uk/whats-on/concerts/g-b-fest

 Adrian Brendle will give a recital for the KCT and Kestrel Music on Wednesday, 27 June in St Giles-without-Cripplegate (Fore Street, London EC2Y 8DA) at 13.00 in a programme in memory of Dame Myra Hess and her National Gallery wartime performances:



Mention should also be made of the podcasts that Sasha Grynyuk (in collaboration with my co-Artistic Directors, Elena Vorotko and Leslie Howard), have created and which can now be viewed on the KCT website.

These feature interviews and short performances with Alexander Ullman, Evgeny Genchev, Martina Kazmierczak (harpsichord), Iyad Sughayer, Jean Rondeau and Mark Viner. 

Best wishes to everyone for a very happy Summer holiday – and please do join us for as many of these Summer Concerts as you can!

Christopher Axworthy, Co-Artistic Director and Trustee


May 2018

On Wings of Song ….Young musicians at the Ghione Theatre

On wings of song- young musicians at the Ghione Theatre

Young musicians at the Ghione theatre.

On the second anniversary of the death of Giorgio Albertazzi………..a beautiful short film of him talking in a intelligently witty and ironic way about death was followed by a concert by four young artists for an association that has been created to help children and their families cope with cancer …………….
A remarkable Rachmaninov Moment musical op 16 n.4 after a very mature performance of Chopin Scherzo n.4. Matteo Pomposelli at only 13 has the makings of a real artist .
An ex student of Marcos Madrigal he and Angela Carradori both frequent now the renowned school in Trani .
They both displayed the same very sensitive sense of style and colour and technical prowess.
Virginia Di Rocco a student of Andre Gallo gave a very assured performance of Beethoven’s first piano and violin Sonata op 12.n.1 with 21 year old violinist Flavio Montella .
Sorry to miss Yuja Wang but so pleased to be able to give a helping hand to real talent and for such a worth cause .
All organised splendidly by our old friend Franco Buzzanca creator of Scenografia Oggi who contructed many of our sets for us over the past 40 years .
It was part sponsored by the Associazione Lya De Barberiis my much missed duo partner for so many years.

Moritz von Bredow report on Mariam Batsashvili in Germany April 2018

Mariam Batsashvili gave two concerts in Germany on the 26th April at Steinway Hall Cologne and the 27th April at the magnificent Orangery at Castle Rheda this is what Moritz von Bredow wrote:

“please allow me to send you my report on Mariam Batsashvili‘s two very outstanding piano recitals last week in Cologne and Rheda-Wiedenbrück. The latter one was followed by two most amazing reviews in local newspapers.The audience in Cologne was small but enthusiastic and very attentive, and the hall in Rheda-Wiedenbrück was completely sold out.The programme consisted of:

Bach/Busoni – Chaconne D Minor

Mozart – Rondo A Minor K511

Schubert – Impromptu F Minor op. 142/1

Liszt – Hungarian Rhapsody no. 12


Chopin – Andante Spianato et Grande Polonaise Brillante op. 22

Mozart/Liszt – Fantasy on themes from Figaro and Don Giovanni (completed by Leslie Howard)

Mariam started the evening with the Chaconne, a  work that most pianists would use to end a programme. The opening chords were placed in a grand and solemn mood , and it  was these first notes that already made everybody listen with deepest attention. What followed was a unique demonstration of wonderfully understood Bach as well as meticulously prepared Busoni. Never forgetting the intimate and figurative playing of the violin, Mariam Batsashvili exposed the grandeur of Busoni’s orchestral use of the piano in unparalleled ways. Her sense of rhythm as well as her  demonstration of each of the various themes’ architecture and counterpoint were breathtaking. She never got lost in small pieces, but saw the entity of this one work, going through the most difficult fugal developments in a seemingly easy way. Mariam’s  highly intelligent understanding of the difficult structure of this work made it possible that the listener could hear lines and inner melodies that before may never have been shown that clearly. La forza of La Batsashvili was never left to chance – she controls the piano whenever she wants, and this her orchestral sound is huge, but always transparent and never hard. Thus, La Chacona was something that could not have started this evening in a better manner.
What followed was equally beautiful: concise and unsentimental, yet flowing and absolutely rhythmical interpretation of Mozart’s Rondo in A minor. This work, written only a few years before Mozart died, is very difficult in that one may easily fall into overromantic expression. Mariam had prepared this piece meticulously and never left the path of idiomatic Mozartism. The lightness of her playing, her sheer understanding and deep love for Mozart’s music, made this one of the the most moving works of the evening.
It fitted well to hear Schubert’s first of four Impromptus  op.  142 in F minor. Schubert wrote this cycle the year before he died, already ill and pensive. There was a relentless pulse going through the opening bars, and this continued throughout the peace with the exception of the more lyrical parts. Also in this piece, as before and after, it was clear that Mariam was able to connect with the Epoque of the composer’s time, with its spirit which she brought to life so beautifully. Her sound was always clear, her use of both pedals admirable – her  technical mastery of all works is without any doubt one of the best that I have heard in recent years.
Before the interval, Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody no. 12  was interpreted in a rendition that reminded me of Geza Anda’s  or Lazar Berman’s great interpretations. The mystical opening developed soon into a rhythmic firework and the mystic depth in the manifold beauty of Liszt’s music. I am sure Leslie would have enjoyed this performance so very, very much. BRAVISSISSIMA, MARIAM!!

After the well-deserved interval, Mariam Batsashvili played Chopin’s Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise op 22 -again, and idiomatic expression of Chopin’s tonal language that left nothing open. Rubinstein would have loved her here. It is that mood of solemn and pensive meditation that Mariam can contrast so perfectly with melodic and happy dancing as well as heavy orchestral developments. She can do it all, no question, out of her most natural talent.

This evening ended with Liszt’s Fantasy on themes from two operas by Mozart, completed by Leslie. What an honour to hear Mariam perform this work, immensely difficult and yet it sounded so light, so cheerful, with these incredibly difficult scales, jumps and mystical roaring in the left hand challenges that left everybody startled.

The encore consisted of a Menuet by Ignacy Paderewski from his Humoresques de Concert. Everybody would have loved to dance with Mariam at that moment!

Had I dared, I would have kneeled down before Mariam after these ever so beautiful recitals.
Mariam Batsashvili really is  one of the best pianists the KT  has ever supported. Her understanding of the music comes from an indescribable inner connection to each epoch, to each era’s spirit from which the composers have given us their music. It seems as if Mariam comes from the Baroque era, having jumped into the romantic period, then back to Salzburg and Vienna in the late 18th century –   it is clear to me that she feels deeply connected when she plays. Mariam is  an amazing pianist who controls everything, she is perfectly prepared, highly professional and at the same time highly sensitive, kind and modest, without giving up her inner strength. Mariam is a great, musical and ideal classical pianist, and I feel honoured and am very grateful that I could look after her during these days.

Our conversations were at all times profound, and her spirit as well as her intelligence make Mariam Batsashvili a most wonderful person to be with. As a pianist and as a person, she has  moved me deeply. It is from her inner personality, her ability to observe and listen where her  art of playing the piano comes from. I believe that her future will be bright, and I’m wishing her this. All doors should be open for her, and any consider recital that might be a special acknowledgement of her position in the musical world should be given to her at any time.
I will not forget these days and am enormously looking forward to July, 5th  when Mariam Batsashvili will return to play Bach’s Goldberg Variations for The Keyboard Trust in Hamburg, at Steinway Hall and at my home. I guess I should kneel down then.

Moritz von Bredow



Mr A Brendle at Steinway Hall

Mr A Brendle at Steinway Hall
Adrian Brendle at Steinway Hall for the Keyboard Charitable Trust.
Some very fine playing of Beethoven op 57 “Appassionata” Sonata in F minor and the complete Rachmaninoff Preludes op 32.
Showing off all his superb technical and intellectual skills.
Very taut rhythms in the Beethoven and nice to see that the complicated arpeggios in the first movement were played with one hand as Beethoven wrote it and as Arrau insisted it should be played.
The second subject rhythm could have been even more marked as the motif of the sonata is based exactly on that insistent rhythm in all its forms .
The Andante played con moto as Beethoven indicates.
A real corteo as Agosti used to describe it .
Some unusual pointing of the left hand in the second variation but played with such authority it was totally convincing
Never sentimental as is so often the case but with noble sentiment.
The astonishing link to the last movement was just that!
The Allegro maybe not quite non troppo as Beethoven indicates but played with an enviable precision and authority.
It would have allowed even more of a surprise with the coda Presto and the off beat “sfp” syncopation. There was no question of not playing the repeat with this thinking musician and it led inexorably to a Presto of quite extraordinary rhythmic power. Beethoven’s pedal marks were scrupulously noted and in a more resonant hall would have been even more startling.

Elias Corrinth
But it was the piece especially written for him that brought out all the fantasy and colour that had been difficult to find in such a small hall.
Fou Ts’ong always used to say that it was easier to be intimate in a very big rather than a small one .
A very interesting piece dedicated to him and having its UK premiere:”Invocation,Intermezzo” by Elias Corrinth.
The composer an old school friend was also present
The Rachmaninoff complete Preludes op 32 had a colossal performance of great brilliance and subtlety.
From the opening in C major to the monumental last Prelude in D flat major.
The wonderful “return” as Moisewitch described n 10 in B minor and the mellifluous B major could have had more tenderness and nostalgia but the last study was breathtaking in its monumental power and authority.
I was not at all surprised to see Ian Fountain in the audience as he is Adrian Brendle’s teacher at the Royal Academy .
He is the only British pianist to have won the Rubinstein Competition in Israel and glad to share his knowledge with such a talented young colleague.
The last of the Gesange der Fruhe op 133 as a rarely played encore.One of the last pieces that Schumann wrote and that my old teacher Guido Agosti loved so much

“Leeds leads” – Vitaly Pisarenko at the Chopin Society UK

“Leeds leads “…..Vitaly Pisarenko at the Chopin Society UK
Vitaly Pisarenko at The Chopin Society Westminster Cathedral Hall for their series of Leeds top prize winners .
“Leeds leads” as one might say in this period as we approach the next Leeds International Piano Competition in September.
And Lady Rose Cholmondeley with her faithful staff and followers has added to the excitement with a series of concerts of past illustrious top prize winners. on her splendid new Steinway piano in the Westminster Hall .
It was to have begun with the greatest of them all Murray Perahia(1972),Honorary President of the Chopin Society and also Honorary Patron of the Leeds.
Unfortunately he had to cancel at the last minute due to a hand injury that since has led to the cancellation of his much awaited recitals worldwide.
But many other top prize winners have been adding great lustre to the series that Lady Rose Cholmondeley and Gillian Newman have been championing with such success for the Chopin Society UK .
In February Ian Hobson winner of the 1981 Competition , in March Gulyak Sofya ( 2009); in April Anna Tsybuleva (2015) and in September Sunwook Kim (2006).
Now it was the turn of Vitaly Pisarenko (2015) with a programme of Schubert,Prokofiev,Chopin and Liszt.
I have heard Vitaly many times also in this very programme but never have I heard such authority and overwhelming sense of technical and musical control as today.
Since becoming a top prize winner he has matured and he made the piano sound today like a very “grand” piano indeed as only the greatest hands can do.
It was not the funabulistics of the Liszt Ballade , the beauty of the sound in the Schubert Klavierstucke or the sheer rhythmic energy and self identification with the sound world of Prokofiev but in the little piece offered as an encore that showed a staggering control of dynamic nuance that I doubt  even Gilels could have matched.
The Prelude in B minor attributed to Bach in the Siloti arrangement played with a disarming simplicity much as Myra Hess would do with her famous arrangement of Jesu Joy of Mans desiring.
At a certain point the melodic choral in the left hand middle register of the piano returns with the same filigree accompaniment in the right hand and it was here that magic filled the hall.
The beauty of the sound and with perfect balance as he shared his whispered secret to each and every one of us.
Yes projection too a staggering technical control indeed.
Any pianist will know that it is relatively easy to play loud and fast but to play quiet and with perfect control where the percussive piano can reveal its secret legato and be allowed to sing without any hardness is the realm of a Kempff , Richter or Lupu.
Most of this programme I have spoken about in his recent performances but the Prokofiev was a new addition.
Played with a great sense of style and brittle humoristic character that is so much part of the Russian school in that period.
A style that can some times be a bit tiresome and seem somewhat militaristic and detached.
This was certainly not the case today where every one of the 10 Pieces that make up this early work op 12 was imbued with a character and colour that was quite enthralling.

                                         Westminster Hall audience
The sheen of sound in the famous Harp Prelude that is n.7 had a wonderful sense of forward movement together with a brilliance and delicacy of sound .
The great opening Marche full of the brilliance of the early Prokofiev of the first concerto with that brittle brilliant sound and full sumptuous bass ending in a whisper that led into the old world charm of the Gavotte.
Almost the charm of the encores offered by the great virtuosi of the past .
A little bauble played with such teasing rubato that led us again into the brilliance of the Rigaudon.
The wonderful full cantabile of the Legende with that Russian nostalgia beautifully portrayed and showed off the same intense understanding that our pianist obviously feels for his roots.
The grotesque humour of the Allemande and the Scherzo humoristique blended so well into the brilliance of the final breathtaking virtuosity of the final Scherzo.
A fascinating journey that our pianist shared with us allowing us to marvel at his chameleon sense of changing colour always with a brilliance and the virtuosity that is so much part of Prokofiev’s music.
The sheen of the “harp ” prelude was the same sheen that he brought to the first scherzo of Chopin.
Where the astonishing brilliance was used to share with us the shifting harmonies and subtle melodic line that so often in lesser hands can sound like an etude.
The beautiful Polish folk song in the middle section played with a subtle rubato and sense of colour that one was reminded of the sublime middle section of Chopin’s famous funeral march.
It was another colour from that of the great Schubert Klavierstucke with which he had opened this fascinating programme.
The brilliance of the coda’s of the two Scherzi was astonishing and just as exciting as the Liszt Ballade n.2 and Hungarian Rhapsody n.10 that had Lady Rose exclaiming that now she understood how Liszt must have played.
What more can one say coming from the President of the Chopin Society and herself a distinguished pianist?

                       Bryce Morrison with Noretta Conci-Leech
Noretta Conci-Leech and her husband John Leech were present today.
The founders of the Keyboard Charitable Trust that has been a family for Vitaly Pisarenko in his student days in London after winning the Utrecht International Liszt Competition when he was only 20.
Noted on that occasion by that other great Liszt authority,Artistic director and founder member of the Trust Leslie Howard .

       John Leech and Noretta founders of the Keyboard Charitable Trust
They can all be so proud ten years on listening to this great artist on the crest of a wave and at the start of what will be a remarkable career.
Enough to say that John Leech at 93 turned to his wife at home later and exclaimed “Wasn’t that wonderful!”
“It certainly was” she replied “one of the very best of all the wonderful young artists that we have befriended and been privileged to help over the years.
Hats off to Lady Rose and her wonderful team for allowing us to experience in London such artistry.

Peter Hill and the Goldberg Variations

Peter Hill with the Goldberg Variations
A full house for a Wigmore favourite Prof.Peter Hill
An elderly gentleman appeared on stage to introduce us to the Goldberg.Variations.
Playing from, but hardly glancing at, the score it was refreshingly obvious from the very first note his love and respect for Bach`s monumental score shone through like a blazing light that held the discerning Wigmore audience under his spell.
Some of the more virtuosistic variations were a bit woolley but it was of no importance as this elderly gentleman showed us how the score could come to vivid life without all the barnstorming that we are often treated to.
If a gentle snore from behind me accompanied this gentle performance the humble acceptance of the ovation he was awarded was indeed a tribute to the devotion that Peter Hill has dedicated his life to.
Played without the repeats except strangely the Quodlibet which caught the Wigmore staff unawares with our coffee morning delights still in preparation.
They are more used to the great performances of Angela Hewitt or Rosalyn Tureck who would never dream of abbreviating the variations but when true love and professorial respect for time takes over an hour is always an hour.
If one or two of the public dozed off it is after all rumoured that Bach wrote his variations for the insomniac count who repaid him with a purse of golden florins.

Richard Goode – A Master speaks

Richard Goode- A Master speaks
Richard Goode Masterclass at the Wigmore Hall- the third this week .
Royal Academy of Music and Guildhall and now after his recital last night at the Wigmore Hall.
Some magnificent playing from the master and the disciples- one from each college .
He was as mightily impressed as they were.
The audience ,of course, were totally taken by surprise by these other young people after a day of experiencing the nuptuals………..
Frederic Bager with the makings of a superb Hammerklavier
Iyad I. Sughayer with an exquistely beautiful Mozart K282
Tamila Salimdjanova with a wonderfully shaped Davidsbundler
Ana Gogava with an impassioned and intelligent op 109.
It was nice to see Martino Tirimo listening to his student Iyad I. Sughayer and to hear his loving words for our much missed maestro Gordon Green -” the greatest teacher of the century” in Martino’s words” each of his many illustrious students all different…………”.he should know because Gordon entrusted his students to him on many an occasion. I would also add a wonderfully warm and affectionate human being who with his wife always by his side shaped the pianists of an era.
Much in the way of Tobias Matthay.
Sidney Harrison said that of all his colleagues at the RAM Gordon was the one he agreed with always.
How could you not resist his warm northern common sense and bonomie- nice to know that we have never forgotten and are forever grateful!