Sasha Grynyuk an unexpected visit from a Master pianist
Beethoven: 7 Bagatelles Op 33
Brahms: Variations and Fugue on theme of Handel Op 24
- Born in Kyiv- Ukraine, Sasha Grynyuk studied at the National Music Academy of Ukraine and later at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London with Ronan O’Hora. After graduation he also benefited from artistic guidance of such great musicians as Alfred Brendel and Murray Perahia. Sasha was described by legendary Charles Rosen as “an impressive artist with remarkable, unfailing musicality always moving with the most natural, electrifying, and satisfying interpretations”. He regularly performs in most renowned concert halls throughout Europe, South and North America, Far East and Asia including Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Salle Cortot, Bridgewater Hall, Barbican Hall, Wigmore Hall and Carnegie Hall. Winner of over ten International competitions, prizes and awards Sasha was chosen as a Rising Star for BBC Music Magazine and International Piano Magazine. His recent successes also include 1st prizes of Rio de Janeiro International Piano Competition, Grieg International Piano Competition and Guildhall School’s most prestigious award – the Gold Medal – previously won by such artists as Jacqueline Du Pre and Bryn Terfel.
I think it is only in Dr Hugh Mathers stable of pianists that one great artist could immediately substitute another.
It was just the case today that Jianing Kong had to leave for China on urgent family business but Sasha Grynyuk was in the wings happy to play in his place.
- I have heard Jianing Kong give a magnificent recital in this very series in Perivale and was surprised to see Sasha Grynyuk appear on my screen in Rome where I had tuned in to follow the concert with their excellent live streaming.
- I have heard Sasha play many times and have long admired his command of the keyboard and absolute faithfulness to the letter of the score.
His mentor Noretta Conci-Leech to whom he plays every week had told me about a memorable Brahms Handel that he had brought to her.
I was doubly happy then to be able to listen so unexpectedly to his performance today.
I was not disappointed on the contrary, like Noretta, I was quite exhilarated.
Week after week she listens in awe to his 32 Beethoven Sonatas ,five Concertos,Bagatelles sprinkled with Scriabin 5th and many other works by Rachmaninov and all.
After hearing Sasha play a Beethoven recital in Steinway Hall Stephen Kovacevich (who had been mentored by Myra Hess) wanted to know who his teacher was,such was his acute intelligence and understanding of Beethoven’s musical world.
A programme today that included Beethoven’s early 7 Bagatelles op 33 and finished with the Brahms 24 Variations and Fugue op 24.
The 7 Bagatelles were like 7 little tone poems each one with a story to tell with a great sense of character and subtle sense of colour.
A simple musicianship in which the music was allowed to unfold so naturally.
From the charm of the Andante grazioso to the deliciously playful Scherzo where the legato melody over a typical early Beethoven rolling bass in the middle section was immediately contrasted to the playfulness at the end.
Beethoven having such fun with the acciacturas in the beautifully shaped legato melody followed by a lied with beautiful trills played with a simplicity and innocence that opened the way to the most lovely of farewells.
The rolling arpeggios in the fifth were thrown off with such precision in the Allegro ma non troppo followed by a subtle cantabile contrasting section with Beethoven having the last laugh at the end.
The sixth bagatelle dissolving into nothing as it prepared the field for the insistent energy of the last Presto played with exhilarating physical participation.
Sasha gave a voice to each bagatelle allowing them to speak so naturally and beguilingly to a rapt appreciative audience.
An exemplary performance followed of Brahms Handel Variations.
From the very clearly stated theme with finely articulated trills there was a continous forward movement in the twenty four variations that followed.
They led to the final unusually clearly defined final statement before the explosion of the fugue.
A rhythmic and playful first variation was followed by the beautiful legato of the second played with great expression and with a very telling staccato left hand contrasting with the legato right. The very deliberate overlapping of the third was deliciously underplayed and followed by very rhythmic octaves that were never allowed to exit from the overall architectural frame.
A very florid cantabile beautifully shaped leading to legato octaves mirroring each other in a superb display of true legato.
The entry in the seventh of staccato signals the start of the rhythmic march that will take us through to the final triumphant ending.
A gradual build up magnificently controlled.
The beautiful music box in the twenty second sparkled in such refined hands leading to a relentless gear change for the final statement of the theme.
The explosion of energy in the fugue was played with a driving, relentless insistence.
Any slight mishap on the way was washed to one side on this tidal wave of energy that led the final triumphant chords.
A Rachmaninov encore just showed the subtle versatility of this remarkable young artist.