Victor Maslov at St Mary’s The Eileen Rowe Musical Award Holder
Victor Maslov at Perivale
Some beautiful words from our host of ceremonies Dr Hugh Mather to present this twenty one year old russian pianist to his faithful public at St Mary’s for the second time. He is the recipient of many distinguished awards but the most significant one is that he is supported in his studies with Dmitri Alexeev by the Eileen Rowe Musical Trust.
That Queen of Piano Teachers in Ealing for over 60 years who left her worldly goods to set up this Trust that helps talented young pianists to continue their training.
I was reminded to look back to my thoughts a year ago when I heard this young man play Brahms and Rachmaninov.
It was also nice to hear Victor Maslov talk with such affection and thanks to the people of Ealing who are supporting him in his long journey to become a professional musician.
His teacher Dmitri Alexeev, since winning the 1966 Leeds Piano Competition has been a long time resident in Ealing.
Some very astute comments of presentation too.
He pointed out that the two works in programme: Beethoven Sonata op 109 and Schubert Sonata in C minor D958 were both written at the end of the composers lives and were the first of their last trilogy of Sonatas for piano.
Already his performances of the Russian virtuoso repertoire are much appreciated and he was chosen at the age of only 19 to play with the RCM Philharmonic the Tchaikowsky Concerto n.1 as winner of their prestigeous concerto competition.
So today was it was interesting to see him venturing into the world of the German classics.
It is only in this enlightened series devised by Dr Hugh Mather and his faithful followers that we are able to chart and appreciate week after week the progress and talent of some of the most remarkable young musicians who have come to London to perfect their skills.
Concerts four times a week divided between St Mary’s and St Barnabas in Ealing give the opportunity to these young musicians not only to share their music with a discerning audience but also to receive a well needed fee to keep the wolves from the door whilst preparing for their first ventures into the vast professional world that awaits.
Dr Hugh Mather is not content with just these already established series but at the end of each year on these beautiful balmy nights he devises a weekend series which incorporates all the sonatas of Beethoven or this year all the major works of Chopin.
The Festival from 15-17 June will hear 21 pianists,many of whom have already appeared in the normal series ,playing over 12 hours of music over 5 sessions.
The remarkable Dr Mather may be a retired physician but as he shows there is no such thing as retirement for a musician .
Explaining that his children too were taught by the remarkable Eileen Rowe whereas whilst training to become a distinguished physician he was being coached by the distinguished pianist James Gibb.
With all this activity in helping young musicians he even has time to play Chamber music and will include a recital at St Barnabas on Friday 18th May with Yume Fujise in a difficult programme that includes the Brahms D minor Sonata and Ravel’s strepitoso Tzigane !
Some fine playing from Victor Maskov even considering that this was an entirely new programme of a new world that he is exploring of the great German classics.
Beethoven op 109 is together with its partners op 110 and op 111 a monument of the piano repertoire.
I had just come from a morning Masterclass at the RAM by the distinguished pianist Richard Goode in which he had been explaining and demonstrating this very sonata to another fine pianist Inna Montesclaros.
A stimulating exchange of ideas that made it even more refreshing to now hear a complete performance of this masterpiece.
Some beautiful playing especially good in the busier parts of the sonatas.
An exhilarating performance of great clarity and rhythmic propulsion of the Prestissimo.
Also the scintillating third variation of the theme and variations that makes up the last movement.
A beautifully shaped theme especially in the almost whispered repeat.
Beethoven’s magical trills that are so much part of his last trilogy were very well performed but could have had more magic as they descend into the final moving statement.
In fact this was a young man’s Beethoven where the underlying propulsion was not deeply enough felt in his effort to shape the individual melodic lines.
Forgetting that this is above all symphonic music that must have a definite structure. Like a Greek Temple where the base and columns are absolutely fundamental even though the freeze and individual ornaments may be of sublime beauty.
They are of a classical beauty .
Not that of the great romantic works where feelings and atmospheres are paramount and sometimes the actual structure is of secondary importance.
The first movement of the Beethoven suffered from this lack of overall architectural shape and became a series of sometimes exquisite episodes interrupted by Beethoven’s explosive temperament.
It was Richard Goode that showed us the way of producing a sound that would amalgamate this seemingly episodical first movement and make it even more astonishingly into one overall shape.
Strangely enough it was to eliminate the individual bar lines and to feel the energy and growth in big lines and phrases.
That one chain would link to another as Moura Lympany used to say.
The great Schubert C minor was felt so well.
The dramatic opening giving way to the meltingly beautiful second subject but again loosing on the way the inner propulsion that would have given more power and shape to the whole.
The Allegro last movement was beautifully shaped as a real dance instead of the usually dramatic tarantella.
The sublime middle section again divorced from its surroundings.
These are just some pointers to this very talented young musician who is venturing into new territory.
They were nevertheless very professional performances much appreciated by the audience that instead of the promised Etudes Tableaux op 39 by Rachmaninov had been treated to one of the great monuments of the German piano literature.
A little piece from Visions Fugitives – N.10 was strangely played at half tempo but it worked so well and was made to talk directly to this enthusiastic audience.
It is more fun like that exclaimed Victor who was now ready to let his hair down and return to home territory!
Victor is supported by another remarkable lady Canan Maxton who has created Talent Unlimited that helps very talented young musicians to give concerts and study in London.