You Review: October 2014

Pianist Alexei Grynyuk in Claygate, Elegies from the Great War in Ealing and a tribute to Lorin Maazel in New York

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You Review: October 2014
Rating: 
4

 

Alexei Grynyuk – Saturday 4 October (Holy Trinity Church, Claygate)

Concert advertising does not always tell a true story. Thus the recital given in a local church and promoted by the Oxshott and Cobham Music Society was something of a revelation.

It is difficult to find sufficient superlatives to do justice to this young man's performance. Despite Alexei Grynyuk's (above) impressive history I was unprepared for the effect on me. He is on a par with Macedonian pianist Simon Trpceski, and any of the really great young pianists today. He is humble, warm and has a charming smile for his audience when applauded.

Totally immersed in his music, he paid exceptional attention to contrasts of style, touch and tone and was able to convey great feeling, involving the audience completely. Not a sound was to be heard from the audience during Scarlatti’s Sonatas, Chopin’s Nocturne in B Op. 9/3 or Liszt’s Petrarch Sonnet – not a rustling programme nor a cough. It was totally spellbinding, with silence that continued long after the conclusion of the music.

Scarlatti is not performed often enough in recitals, and with an estimated 600 sonatas to choose from, this seems rather surprising, especially so when one realises that many are exceptionally short. However, the audience were treated to three wonderful examples of his compositions: K135, K466 and K20.

Alexei Grynyuk has a phenomenal technique and strength, capable of the most formidable demands of Liszt and Musorgsky. Coupled with these is humour, a fantastic dexterity and wonderful musicality, which converts the music into thunderous chords, breath-taking pyrotechnical scale passages and the ability to decrescendo to the softest delicate pianissimo repeated notes.

The effect on the audience was stunning: many cheered and some stood to applaud. There was such a buzz and so many happy, excited comments. Alexei Grynyuk is certainly a real 'find' so don't miss him!

– Suzanne Connor, UK

 

 

Elegies from the Great War – Sunday 19 October (Twyford School, Ealing)

Madeleine Mitchell (violin) and Antony Peebles (piano) opened this concert with a soaring rendition of Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending that highlighted the piece's elegiac qualities.

Herbert Howells’s Three Pieces (1917) formed an interesting centre to the recital. The duo did a good job of giving some unity to the work, the very different moods of each section leaving you with snapshots of wartime life.

Mitchell’s performance of the central, short and simple Chosen Tune was particularly effective and echoed the opening folksong passages of The Lark, tying the sequence neatly into the programme.

The highlight of the concert was undoubtedly Elgar's Violin Sonata. The duo responded to each other throughout even though Peebles had stepped in at short notice. A tightly played opening Allegro led to an ‘enchanted wood’ Romance full of pizzicato sprites expertly characterised by Mitchell. In the final movement, Allegro, non troppo the pair re-introduced a wartime feeling of an elegy.

Short introductions by Mitchell to each work effectively placed them in their World War One context and the musical works were complemented by readings by Anne Harvey of WWI poems, featuring many by female poets.

We were so impressed by the Elgar that we immediately booked tickets to hear it again at Mitchell’s 19 March 2015 Wigmore Hall recital.

– Iain Sneddon, London

 

 

Tribute to the life and career of Lorin Maazel – Friday 31 October (New York Society for Ethical Culture)

The family of Lorin Maazel paid tribute to his life and career last Friday afternoon in a public event at the New York Society for Ethical Culture. Hundreds turned out to honour the late conductor, including icons from Hollywood and the classical music world and some members of royalty.

Maazel, who passed away this summer, was one of the world’s most esteemed conductors, devoting his life to music professionally for 73 years. He served as music director of the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Munich Philharmonic while enjoying close associations with the Philharmonia in London, and the Vienna Philharmonic. He was also a highly regarded composer, with a wide-ranging catalog of works written primarily over the last 15 years.

The celebrated flautist Sir James Galway performed at the tribute along with soprano Jennifer Black and baritone Paul LaRosa, who sang the Love Duet from Maazel’s opera 1984 together. Another performer was Maazel’s own son, Ilann Maazel, who said, ‘My father had seven children, three wives, and performed 5000 concerts. I’d say that was a full life.’ He played Chopin’s Valse in A Minor, which he said was the last piece he had ever played for his father.

A chamber group from the New York Philharmonic performed and closing the tribute was jazz great Wynton Marsalis who played a spiritual and then a rousing When The Saints Go Marching In.

Among the crowd were F Murray Abraham, Alec Baldwin, Agnes Gund, Peter Gelb, Cia Toscanini, HRH Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia and HRH Princess Michael of Kent. 

– Scott Gorenstein, USA

 

 

Would you like to write a concert review for us? Send 200 words, any pictures taken at the event and where you are from to youreview@classical-music.com 

 

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