Beethoven at St James' Piccadilly by ProQuest


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									                                                                            Kanazawa-Admony Piano Duo

ending its successful                                                        octaves alternate with             Beethoven at St James’ Piccadilly
current season, on this                                                      martial episodes and
occasion the focus of                                                       brilliant brass fanfares              eethoven’s Grosse Fuge Op.134, in the
interest was on the world
premiere of a ‘new’ work by
                                                                          until with a Rachmaninov-
                                                                        ian sweep we arrive at a solo
                                                                                                             B    composer’s own duet version, formed the
                                                                                                             exciting centrepiece of a stunning London
Arnold Bax at the Stratford                                         cadenza section subsiding into           debut by the prize-winning Kanazawa-Admony
Civic Hall July 3rd 2009.                                      regret and a return to the mood of the        Piano Duo, at a well attended St James’
    Bax was a complex character with a turb-         opening.                                                Church, Piccadilly on 13 July. Presented jointly
ulent emotional life. His Concertino for piano           Bax’s (and Parlett’s) mastery of orchestration      by the Jewish Music Institute, SOAS, and the
and orchestra was started in 1939 and intended       was even more in evidence in the luscious calm          Beethoven Piano Society of Europe, the concert
for his muse, the pianist Harriet Cohen, but         of the slow movement, the piano again supp-             was dedicated with affection to the memory of
like many composers he found the prevailing          orted on legato strings, ambiguity here too,            the BPSE co-founder and Vice-Chairman
political tension inhibited his creative abilities   with opulent brass chords and woodwind dec-             Carola Grindea, a renowned pedagogue and
and eventually it was abandoned. The detective       orations interrupted by questioning solo piano          author, founder of the international organ-
story of the work’s restoration is the subject of    episodes, a tearing climax leading to a very dramat-    isations EPTA and ISSTIP, who passed away
a forthcoming documentary and this concert           ic silence, and then a meltingly beautiful epilogue.    just three days earlier, aged ninety-six.
was filmed by Stratford-based media company              The finale brought my only reservations. To             The feast of four-hand music, played with
Honest Injun Films who have been shadowing           my ears the unsettling drama of the first two           virtuoso panache, was certainly a tribute to
OOTS, David Curtis, Bax authority Graham             movements was not really dispelled by the gal-          Carola Grindea’s lifelong enthusiasm for pian-
Parlett and soloist Mark Bebbington through-         umphing gait of the last movement. There                ists, piano music and the phenomenon of peak
out the genesis of the project.                      seemed to be a mismatch between the forced              performance. The young husband and wife
    So was the 70 years wait worth it? A definite    joviality of the material and the sometimes             duo, whose recordings include a recent Naxos
yes. There is nothing diminutive about this          overpowering scoring.                                   CD of Liszt’s Symphonic Poems, are based in
Concertino, as Bebbington said, it is ‘a big-            The heroic soloist Mark Bebbington and              Israel, and launched their programme with the
boned, full-length, virtuoso piano concerto.’        conductor David Curtis had great command,               UK premiere of a richly coloured Sonata a
    The brilliance of its writing and ambiv-         not only of the muscular demands of the virt-           Quattro Mani by one of Israel’s leading
alence of its moods make it a striking piece.        uoso writing but also of the complex harmonic           composers, the octogenarian Yehezkel Braun,
After a dreamlike opening with muted strings         directions of the piece. A recording on Somm            who was present to receive the audience’s warm
and bassoon underpinning the piano, sinister         records is planned for September and this is            applause. The Sonata, imbued with overtones
Kastchei-like undercurrents creep in and             definitely a work to hear again.                        of Debussy and Prokofiev, shares affinities with
violence is never far away. Scintillating piano      John Gough                                              the impressionism of its dedicatee, Braun’s

                Mahler 5 by 4                        was admirably partnered by Khac Uyen, a                 this performance but were hearing it ‘blind’,
                                                     young Vietnamese-Chinese-Norwegian con-                 as it were, on a record, the underlying
   t is to be doubted whether a publ
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