Sasha Grynyuk at St Mary’s Perivale
It is always a sign that something special is in the air when one sees Lisa Peacock the renowned concert manager on the threshold.
From the very first notes of Beethoven’s 7 Bagatelles op 33 one could immediately see why she had come.
Here was a pianist,musician but above all interpreter if we have to give a label to someone who can shed new light and insight on works that we have heard so many times in lesser hands.
One is immediately reminded of Murray Perahia with that same self effacing modesty and total dedication and simplicty that is of a great artist at work.
I am pleased to quote Hugh Mather ,the most appreciative and informed impresario.
A friend and selfless helper of young musicians in a private message he sent to me after the concert:
”Fabulous pianist- makes it all worthwhile!One of the very best”
I had heard him once before as you can see above.
A concert at Steinways in honour of the Trustees of the Max Grunebaum Foundation in Cottbus.
He then was invited to the Gala concert in Cottbus just a week or so ago.
I remember so vividly his performance of Beethoven ‘s Sonata op 27 n.1, the relatively unknown companion to the so called “Moonlight “ Sonata .
It is in particular his Beethoven op 110 and 33 today that will long be remembered by those fortunate enough to find a seat in the oasis that Hugh Mather has created in this 12th century redundant church in a most beautiful pastoral setting only 20 minutes by tube from the confusion that reigns these days in Marble Arch.
Sasha Grynyuk was born and trained in the Ukraine before completing his studies under Ronan O’ Hora in London at the Guildhall.
He won the prestigious Gold Medal being in the past illustrious company of Jacqueline Du Pre,Bryn Terfel and my old teacher Sidney Harrison (1927).
He has since gone on to win first prize in the Grieg International Competition in Norway and the BNDES in Brazil.
It was the original piano score by Shostakovich for the 1929 silent film The New Babylon that he gave the premier performance of in St Luke’s in London last year that had the critics searching for superlatives.
He has been working recently with Noretta Conci-Leech,founder with her husband John Leech of the Keyboard Charitable Trust and assistant for 15 years to Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli.
A new Beethoven every week and then on to the Bagatelles.
All the traits of a great school were there.
The scrupulous attention to detail and to the composers indications.
Clarity and the utmost attention to the use of pedals and above all attention to rests and their silence in the context of an overall music line.
The details found in the Adagio of op 110 had me dashing home to consult the score and to wonder why I, together with most others, had overlooked the composers most precise instructions.
The throbbing “bebung” was the same throbbing accompaniment to the sublime arioso dolente that reappeared with an even more intense cantabile after the fugal interruption.
The etherial apparition of the fuge in inversion lead so naturally to the final growth into the most passionate climax that in Sasha’s ever more intense hands had even the piano running away from this red hot culmination of a long and complex journey in Beethoven’s penultimate sonata.
The sublime opening had been so magically phrased and like the fourth piano concerto the scene had been set from the very first few notes.
The trill lead so naturally and clearly into the melody, yet with the left hand accompaniment played so clearly with a sense of balance that added a very special sheen to what is surely one of Beethoven’s most beautiful creations.
His orchestral sense of balance gave great weight and independence to the various sudden changes of character.
Even the finest of cellists would have had a hard job to shape the bass scales as well as Sasha never detracting from the original melodic line that it was commenting.
The magical change of key took us by surprise as if hearing it for the first time.
This is what real interpretation means .Translating into sound not only the composers indications , with all the fantasy and technical reserves that the interpreter has in his baggage.It is to recreate the same moment of discovery that Beethoven must have imagined in his secret world of silence.
The Allegro molto was played with an enviable precision and rhythmic drive.
The trecherous middle section played with the absolute command of the true virtuoso it was obviously written for.
It dissolved so magically into the Adagio with a poco ritardando that I had never been aware of before.
The last note held back like a great singer before the deep sigh of the opening of the Adagio ma non troppo.
The Bagatelles op 33 too had seen seven completely different scenes depicted.
Each one with a character of its own.
From the opening operatic flourishes and charm of the first to the great rhythmic drive of the second.
The beautiful liquid cantabile of the third with such a telling change of dynamics like someone recounting a fairy story with simplicity and innocence.Rarely can the acciacaturas have been so humorously depicted.
The fourth too was a different story told so simply with trills that seemed like diamonds gleaming in the light.
Great virtuoso flourishes in the fifth played with charm and clarity.
The pedal at the end of the sixth was pure magic and the symphonic effect at the end of the seventh was quite overwhelming.
A complete change of colour for the Mozart with great clarity and purity of sound.
The opening of the Andante though was played as if Adagio and I found it unnatural and a little stilted.
Strangely enough it seemed to find its own just tempo with its own noble cantabile whilst on its own true way with amazingly chamelion type subtle and continual changing colours .
The Rondo was played with all the character that he had found in the Bagatelles.
The five Rachmaninov Preludes were played with a superb sense of colour and a balance that allowed the most romantic of melodies to sing so naturally and unforced.
The most romantic of them all op 23 n.6 was played with a nobility that kept Hollywood well at bay!
The double notes of op 23 n.9 showed off all his quite considerable technical command but with the musical line always to the fore .
Infact like Chopin’s famous double third study it was the teasing left hand that was so telling.
The great “return “ of op 32 n.10 found just such a story teller as Moisewitch who had made this piece such a nostalic longing for his great friend Rachmaninov’s homeland.
The nobilest of all Preludes in D flat op 32 n.13 brought the concert to a tumultuous end.
A standing ovation brought forth the most pastoral of Prokofiev’s Vision Fugitives op.22 .
What more could one wish from a true poet of the piano sharing an afternoon of pure magic.