Benjamin Grosvenor, LSO St Luke’s
Friday 15 October 2010
Benjamin Grosvenor looks much less than his eighteen years, but he’s already come a very long way. After winning the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition at eleven, he has built up a glittering career as both recitalist and concerto performer.
The Cd of piano music he has just released for an online music club – quirkily entitled ‘This and That’ - reflects a formidable technique, and the most subtle musicianship; he’s currently one of the brightest lights in the Royal Academy’s remarkable stable. He’s also just been drafted on to the BBC’s New Generation Artists scheme, and this concert of wall-to-wall Chopin was his first outing in that capacity.
Launching into the whirlwind Scherzo No 1, he was a bit hurried and anxious. All the notes were brilliantly there, but his fingers seemed to skate over the surface of the keys, rather than dig in: there is beauty to be savoured in every bar of these fleet figurations. But the light, singing touch he brought to the lyrical middle section was beguiling, as was the right-hand tracery in the C sharp minor Nocturne which followed. After making a virtue of the bare bleakness of the E minor Nocturne, he essayed the Barcarolle. And if this emerged as a water-colour, rather than the oil-painting it usually is, playing as precise and gossamer-light as his has a charm of its own. Then came another Scherzo, and another thought: when this recital is broadcast by Radio 3 on December 3, the intimacy of his sound may be brought into more satisfying close-up.
But what marked this recital out from all the other Chopin recitals in this centenary year was the clutch of rarities Grosvenor had unearthed. Some were occasional pieces of no great merit, others were surprising: the ‘Galop’ composed to celebrate George Sand’s dogs could have been by Beethoven.
But the impression we were left with was of the sweetest physical symbiosis between this player and his instrument. Grosvenor may not be a teenage Kissin, but he’s undoubtedly a major pianist in the making. Now he needs to discover the paradoxical truth that one can actually sound faster by playing a bit slower. And he must really dig into those keys, to conjure up a sense of amplitude.
game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 'Fire at every person you see': Israeli soldiers reveal they were ordered to shoot to kill in Gaza – even if the targets may have been civilians
- 2 Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 4 Garland shooting: Isis claims attack on Prophet Mohamed cartoon contest in Texas as its first action on US soil
- 5 Met Gala 2015: Beyoncé manages to out-skimp Rihanna, Miley and Kim Kardashian combined with near-naked ensemble
Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
Jorge Luis Borges fan brings his infinite library to life online
Game of Thrones, season 5 episode 4, review: Sansa in danger of becoming another footnote in Westeros' bloody history
The highly NSFW poster for Gaspar Noé's Love makes Nymphomaniac look like 50 Shades
Trailer for Robin Williams' last film Absolutely Anything starring Simon Pegg released
In defence of liberal democracy
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils