Bertrand Chamayou, Wigmore Hall
Friday 31 December 2010
With the horizon echoing to carols by candlelight, and with the Gubbayfication of the Albert Hall and Barbican, this is the time of year when one gives thanks for the Wigmore Hall, where there is no falling-off in musical quality.
Moreover, to read Gerald Larner’s programme-notes for Bertrand Chamayou’s recital is to realise something else about this establishment which tends to be taken for granted: here is a retired critic delivering miniature essays which illuminate the works more coruscatingly than many a learned tome could have done. Given the rarity of several pieces in the programme, this sort of guide is enormously useful, and you’d be lucky to find one of its quality anywhere else.
But Chamayou led us in gently, with a work more usually heard as an encore: Mendelssohn’s ‘On the wings of song’, modestly and respectfully arranged by Liszt, to which Chamayou brought a delicate touch and a clean, singing line. Then came three movements from Liszt’s ‘Annees de pelerinage’: ‘Au bord d’une source’ (Beside a spring) rippled brilliantly, if not with the evenness which turns it into magic. But what Chamayou did with ‘Orage’ (Storm) took the breath away, as did his treatment of ‘Vallee d’Obermann’, the first appearance of whose theme suggested a cello’s compelling warmth. By letting this work unfold at a leisurely pace, and by deploying the biggest sound I’ve heard in this hall for years, he allowed Liszt’s creation to expand to its full magnificence.
Chamayou completed his foray into Liszt with ‘Venezia e Napoli’, three fascinating rarities. The barcarole melody of ‘Gondoliera’ emerged gracefully from the mists before ornamenting itself with trills and covering the keyboard; ‘Canzone: Lento doloroso’ rumbled balefully, and ‘Tarantella’ simply tore along, changing colour all the time. Not many players could have brought this off with such casual aplomb: as an opener for the celebrations of Liszt’s anniversary year, this 29-year-old French pianist’s London debut has set the bar high.
The rest of his programme was no less impressive. Saint-Saens’s ‘Les Cloches de las Palmas’ and ‘Etude en forme de valse’ scintillated, while Franck’s ‘Prelude, Chorale, and Fugue’ came bathed in organ-like splendour. Meanwhile, Chamayou’s new Cd ‘Franck’ (on the Naive label) holds up to the light some hitherto-neglected gems from this underrated composer.
film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Game of Thrones season 5 trailer: The first full-length look is here
- 5 Rashida Jones speaks out against male-centric porn saying 'women should have sex and feel good about it'
Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
Game of Thrones really doesn't want Danny Dyer - EastEnders star rejected three times
Game of Thrones season 5 trailer: The first full-length look is here
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
The secret joke hidden in Silence of the Lambs' most famous line
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account