Friday, 3 May 2013

An outstanding recital from Simon Trpčeski on the Wigmore Hall Live label

I first had the opportunity to hear Simon Trpčeski live, back in January of this year when he performed Chopin’s Piano Concerto No.1 with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under its Principal Conductor, Andris Nelsons.

Such was my enthusiasm for his playing that I was delighted when my review copy of his March 2012 Wigmore Hall recital arrived. Issued on the Wigmore Hall Live label Trpčeski plays Schubert, Bach and Liszt.

It is good that such recitals can be made available on disc, not only for the benefit of those lucky enough to have been at the original concerts but for the many that cannot be there.

As I listened to this new release I found myself writing such things as ‘lovely pointed rhythms’, ‘wonderful poetry’, ‘beautiful legato playing’, ‘scintillating’, ‘vibrant and forceful’ and ‘full of Schubertian soul’. Yet this was whilst listening to the relatively lightweight 16 German Dances D.783, but what wonderful things Trpceski brings to them. When it came to Schubert’s great Fantasy in C major D.970 ‘Wanderer’ this pianist givs a terrific performance, so fluid with a beautiful left hand revealing so much. In the allegro con fuoco, ma non troppo he is also reflective in such a natural and spontaneous way. How he suddenly builds up tension, not through speed or volume but with sheer power. He makes a beautiful transition into the adagio that has so many subtleties, lightening the mood at key points, then again building formidably to a passionate level.  Trpčeski handles all the subtle changes of mood beautifully and, towards the end, there are some lovely delicate descending scales.

There is just a minute pause before the presto with some gorgeously rich and sonorous sounds.  Trpčeski’s playing is so taut with a wonderful control of dynamics, yet sounding so spontaneous. Towards the end of this movement there is some terrific playing, full of power and authority before leading straight into the allegro for return of the opening motif, sounding so natural and inevitable to end this fine performance.

Simon Trpčeski follows the Schubert with Liszt’s arrangement of Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in A minor, BWV 543 revealing a great flow of musical creation without ever losing a grip on the structure. Again Trpčeski’s subtle ability to vary the tempi and dynamics, to dig deep into Bach, is so impressive.

In Liszt’s Sonetto del Petrarca No.104 (Deuxième Années de Pèlinerage, S.161) Trpčeski’s response to every nuance and mood pays such dividends, capturing all of Liszt’s fleeting moods. This is playing of great poetry and depth as well as formidable technique.

Les Jeux d’eaux a la Villa d’Este (Troisième Années de Pèlinerage, S.163) brings a Debussian quality with this pianist showing such fluidity and depth of expression, building to a fullness towards the end.

Trpčeski’s quick-fire responses to mood are brought to bear on Liszt’s most famous Hungarian Rhapsody, No.2 in C sharp minor, S.244, as is his tremendous virtuosity. His sense of spontaneity, as though caught in the moment, makes the performance of this much played work a sheer delight.

Simon Trpčeski gave the audience in Wigmore Hall two encores, a beautifully serene Ständchen from Schubert’s Schwenengesang, D.957 arranged by Liszt and a tremendously brilliant and probing performance of Chopin’s stormy Prelude in D minor, Op.28 No.24 to end this outstanding recital.

The recording is excellent. Applause is retained except between individual Liszt pieces as is Trpčeski’s brief introduction to his encores.

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