Teresa de la Escalera and Melina Karagianni at St James’s Piccadilly
“Birds of a Feather” with two highly talented pianists from the school of Tessa Nicholson all gathered together today at St James`s under the affectionate eagle eye of Canan Maxton for Talent Unlimited.
” A thing of beauty is a joy for ever” and so it was today with four beautiful women in search of beauty.
At St James’s Piccadilly this true oasis of peace and beauty with the struggle and turmoil of the great city on its doorstep.
The two performers Teresa Escalera Calderón and Melina Karagianni both included a major work of Chopin in their shared recital.
But there were also two very important ladies in the audience who were also responsible for the wonderful music that we were treated to.
Tessa Nicholson the renowned pianist and teacher who was following her two students and enjoying the fruits of their labour together.
Canan Maxton,the indefatigable promoter of young musicians via her Talent Unlimited.
Immediately in the Scarlatti Sonatas Teresa showed her great temperament and sense of rhythmic drive that was to be such a hallmark in her performances.
Her beautiful sense of phrasing and cantabile in the sonata K.213 was even more apparent in the Chopin nocturne op.9 n.3.Here in Chopin was a beautiful flexibility, a true rubato always with the bass firmly rooted that gave great sonority to the cantabile melodic line above.
It was only disturbed as in the mazuka by a rather too literal staccato that broke this wonderful arch that she had created.
The Scherzo n.3 was given a very fine performance. The opening octaves played with great assurance and technical command.A slightly slower tempo might have given her more chance in this resonant church to allow her amazing technical ability more space to breathe with more nobility.
The chorale and cascading comments were superb even more so for maintaing the same tempo that allowed her to shape the melodic line with such finesse.
The deep bass notes were beautifully judged and gave a sumptuous sound to the notes that evolved from them. The final appearance of the chorale in the minor was pure magic and the coda showed off all her remarkable command of the keyboard and extraordinary temperament.
Melina Karagianni a student from an early age with Tessa Nicholson.First at the Purcell School and now continuing her studies with her for a B mus degree at the Royal Academy.
Immediately apparent was the same authority that Teresa too had shown from the very first notes. Here in the Mozart Fantasia in C minor K.396 the beauty and naturalness of her movements in the opening flourish was mirrored by the beauty of sound that she produced.
Great authority and wonderful contrasts in sound were the hallmark of this very fine performance.
The sublime Mazuka op 63. n.2 by Chopin was played with a sumptuous sound helped too by the deep bass note that she so delicately added .A wonderful sense of rubato allied to a sense of colour that after the final notes no one dared move in the hall such was the spell cast.
It was fitting too that applause did not break the spell for one of Chopin’s greatest works,the Fantasie op 49 that was to close her recital.
A beautiful very assured performance notable for the beauty of sound.
A great sense of weight in the bass allowed the piano to sing without any hardness in a passionately committed performance.
The tumultuous finale was only slightly marred by slightly clipped phrasing but it led with such impetus to the end that was allowed to dissolve to a mere murmur.The finale magical strands of melody so movingly isolated before the liquid almost ravelian arpeggios transported us to the final two chords played with such weight and nobility.
Hats off indeed to these two fine beautiful young artists surrounded by admirers at the end of a magical lunchtime experience.
Nice to see both Tessa and Canan letting their hair down too and enjoying in the success and enjoyment of such serious musicians who are now only in need of an audience such as Talent Unlimited provided at St James’s today.