Iijima-Shilyaev duo -juggling with lollipops at St Mary’s

Thursday 28 January 4.0 pm 

Tadasuke Iijima (violin)
Mikhail Shilyaev (piano) 

Wieniawski: Polonaise de Concert Op 4

Sarasate: Caprice Basque Op 24

Rachmaninov arr. Kreisler: Marguerite(Daisies) Op 38 no 3

Wieniawski: Polonaise Brillante Op 21

Kreisler: La Gitana

Kreisler: Tambourin Chinois

Sarasate: Zigeunerweisen Op 20

Bazzini: La ronde des Lutins, Scherzo fantastique Op 25

von Paradis arr. Dushkin: Sicilienne in E flat

Tadasuke Iijima was born in Japan, and has previously studied under the guidance of Hitoshi Maezawa, Boris Kuschnir, Toshiya Eto, Zakhar Bron, Mayumi Fujikawa and Rivka Golani. He has won numbers of competitions, including the highest award at the Tokyo ‘ s “ New Stars of Music ” Competition, First Prize at the Toshiya Eto Violin Competition, First Prize in the Soloist Competition with the Hamamatu Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, Special Prize for performing a Contemporary Piece at the Heifetz International Violin Competition, and First Prize at the Uralsk International Violin Competition. He also awarded the Harold Craxton Prize, and David Martin Concerto Prize at Royal Academy of Music, and the Vera Kantrovich Prize, Vivian Joseph Classical Concerto competition, and the trinity laban Soloist’s Competition at Trinity College.Tadasuke has also appeared as a soloist alongside the Japan Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo New City Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, the Kanagawa Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, and West Kazakhstan Orchestra. He also attended the masterclass by Ida Haendel and Edith Peinemann. He is currently giving performances throughout UK and worldwide. 

Mikhail Shilyaev was born in Izhevsk, Russia. He started learning piano at the age of six and won several regional piano competitions at a young age. He studied in Russia in Moscow State Conservatoire, in Germany and in the UK. As a soloist with orchestra, he has performed with Musikkollegium Winterthur, the London Soloists Chamber Orchestra, the Georgian Philharmonic Orchestra and with the Gulbenkian Symphony Orchestra among others. He has worked with leading conductors including Christopher Warren-Green, Pascal Rophé, Nikoloz Rachveli and Gianluca Marcianó. In July 2010 Mikhail won the Bronze Medal at the prestigious Vianna da Motta International Piano Competition in Lisbon. Mikhail lives in London and plays mostly in the UK and Europe. He has been taking part in numerous festivals across Europe including Zaubersee festival in Lucerne and Suoni dal Golfo in La Spezia, Italy. Among his chamber music partners are Boris Brovtsyn, Anastasia Kobekina and Natalie Clein. He is interested in historical performance practice and often g ives recitals on fortepianos. Mikhail is also known for his collaboration with singers including the rising stars Anna Gobachyova, Nardus Williams , Tuuli Takkala and Anush Hovhannisyan. Mikhail’s repertoire stretches from early Baroque to contemporary music with its focus on J. S. Bach, Viennese classics, German romantics and Chopin. He has recently released two critically acclaimed CDs on Toccata Classics and Stone Records. His new record made on historical Bechstein has been released by Willowhayne Records.

Nice to be reminded of some old violin warhorses.Ruggiero Ricci used to come often to play and give classes for us in Rome.Uto Ughi and Rodolfo Bonucci were always to be seen cheering in the audience.
Vadim Repin and Natalia Priscipienko students of Zahar Bron in Siberia both made their debuts as teenagers in my theatre in Rome.So it was refreshing to hear all these old pieces again all played together so brilliantly in this unusual teatime lollipops concert from St Mary’s

Thanks Christopher Axworthy. I was very pleased with the concert, although it was certainly unusual. Tadasuke Iijima is an amazing violinist and to play all those hair-raising pieces, one after another, was quite a feat. Not many other violinists would attempt it. And his quiet playing was ravishing. And – just to be clear – it was me who suggested he play some old warhorses, rather than the Ravel sonata yet again – didn’t realize then that the whole concert would be that sort of fare. We will be getting him back again… Here’s the link in SD

Oh so it was your fault Hugh.Some people do not approve as you may have noticed the exchange between Tyler Hay and Stephen….the distinguished critic.Cherkassky was once invited to Milan by the ever eccentric Hans Fazzari ,who has the most important piano series in Milan .He ordered a programme of transcriptions and encore pieces ending with Schulz Evler Blue Danube taking in Godowsky’s Wine Women and Song.The review from a highly respected critic was “Juggler of notes “Giocaliere delle Note”it did not mention his unique artistry but criticised the programme.Shura would never allow an organiser to choose his programme again.He offered two different programmes a season and you could ask for any order or as we slyly did,have him play both together !

Strange how a programme can provoke such heated discussion.It was a ‘tour de force’ of virtuoso violin playing not to say also some fine accompanying for a pianist who could more than stay the course without stumbling on any of the numerous hurdles.A concert ,of course ,that could not be played looking at the score because the pieces were written as showpieces for the virtuosi of their time.With a seemgly sedate audience mostly aristocratic,they would be whipped up into a screaming mob, trying to get as close to their idols much as in the ‘pop’ world of today.But there was much more than just note spinning for there was infinite charm ,passion ,style and colour .Can Daisies ever have sounded so beautiful as with the muted cantabile today.Or the hair raising antics of ‘La ronde des Lutins’thrown off with such consummate ease.The two Wieniawski Polonaises played like a jack in the box full of astonishing surprises from the sumptuous to the spectacular.Of course I missed Schon Rosmarin from his group of pieces by Kreisler who I was pleased to hear is Tadasukes favourite violinist ever.Mine too for the sheer charm colour and natural beauty of sound.This together with Dushkin’s famous (and perhaps like Kreisler much questioned) transcription of Von Paradis with the sublime beauty of his Sicilienne gave an idea of the artistry and not just the acrobatics of this remarkable young violinist.Not quite the devil in disguise but we shall see next time when hopefully he will display all his diabolical artistry with Paganini Caprices and much else besides.

Here is a short extract of some comments – so far – from distinguished musicians :Only heard from pianist FB friends so far, who have a slightly biased view of this repertoire, from the piano stool ! Anyway this is getting slightly out of hand. I am obviously not decrying the music of Liszt or Rach – just pointing out that the repertoire offered by over 100 violinists in over 1000 concerts at Perivale over the last few years has rarely included any of the old showpieces which used to be played frequently. They seem to have become very unfashionable, and to me, that is a great pity. Still haven’t heard from violinists as to why this has happened. The wider question of the attractions of virtuosity, empty or otherwise, is best left to another post. Sufficient to say that I enjoy hearing say Mark Viner or Tyler Hay playing unbelievably difficult piano music supremely well, regardless of whether the musical content is profound or (relatively) superficial !

Stephen Pettitt:Horses for courses but I really don’t like pieces that are showy-offy for the sake only of showing off. Despite (often) gobsmacking skills. There’s got to be (for me) more of a point to music than that and I don’t need a cheap thrill at the end of a concert of deep things. I want to go out into the night (or up to bed if online) full of food for thought. Weird I know.

Tyler Hay :Stephen Pettitt thank you! All that we can ask is that people give things a serious and fair listen. Worth pointing out that we don’t just play any old thing.I’ve told this story so many times but it’s worth thinking about. When I studied in Manchester, I had a 15 min slot to fill during a recital and I decided to find a group of 5 Cimarosa Sonatas. I sightread through about 50 of them and found a dozen that I really liked. I took the score to the bar and pondered over which ones to do, vodka and tonic in hand! One of the best pianists in the department came over and criticised me for choosing Cimarosa over Scarlatti on the grounds that the former is “just a poor man’s Scarlatti.” I thought about it and came to the conclusion that even though it’s true that Cimarosa isn’t Scarlatti, it’s equally true that Scarlatti isn’t Cimarosa. That was a very important moment for me and since then, I’ve loved every minute of finding forgotten and neglected gems. They might not always be “great” but they are certainly at least “very good” and that’s more than enough for me to be getting on with.

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