Daniil Trifonov, Wigmore Hall, London
Monday 19 March 2012
Out of Russia, always something pianistically new. When 20-year-old Daniil Trifonov won the Tchaikovsky competition last year, it was clear he was extraordinary.
Born in Nizhny Novgorod, but trained from the age of eight at Moscow's fabled Gnessin school (where Evgeny Kissin had trained 20 years before), Trifonov had been allowed to let his talent grow at its own quiet pace, until he burst on the international scene with medals in the Warsaw Chopin and Tel Aviv Rubinstein competitions, as well as in Moscow's musical equivalent of the Olympics. For his London lap of honour, he played Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No 1 with the confidence of a master, displaying power in spades, crystalline passage-work, and a pearlised singing tone; his encore – Liszt's '"La Campanella" – had flawless delicacy.
These same qualities were quickly apparent in his Wigmore recital, which was his lap of honour for winning the Rubinstein contest. He glided with a smile into Liszt's arrangement of Schubert's "Fruhlingsglaube", which seemed to smile back at him; the sound was exquisitely calibrated, and so it was in "Die Stadt", which followed.
Then came Schubert's great Sonata in B flat major, the first of the evening's big tests. His way with this was original, playing the first movement's opening statement with what singers would call a whitened tone, then gradually colouring it as the layers within layers were revealed, sometimes with crashing force, sometimes as though blown by the wind. He'd chosen a Fazioli in preference to the usual Steinway, and one could see why, since in his hands much of this work was clad in subtle shades of pianissimo, and the German instrument wouldn't have done the job as well. The Andante was rapt, the Scherzo airborne, and the pained ambiguities of the concluding Allegro were resolved with a wonderfully triumphant flourish. This was a young man's account: time will bring more dimensions.
In four Tchaikovsky pieces d'occasion after the interval, his touch had changed, with each being a vividly characterised world. Then, rounding things off with Chopin's Opus 10 Etudes, he blew us away. The cantabile ones were a delight, and I have never heard the finger-twisters delivered with more nonchalant ease (and speed). Five quirky encores – some of dubious musical quality – had the hall on its feet, but for me dissipated the spell.
A cautionary tale for ambitious would-be authors
X Factor judge will appear in court later this month
Arts & Ents blogs
Fifty Shades of Grey movie: Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson pictured in first scenes
Downton Abbey Christmas special 2013: New pictures released
Back from the dead? Family Guy's Brian Griffin 'to make a comeback' after fan petition
Emma Stone: 'Dating Andrew Garfield makes living in LA a lot less fun'
Katie Hopkins mocks name of sick girl featured in X Factor charity appeal
- 1 Gurdwaras-turned-food banks: Sikh temples are catering for rise in Britain’s hungry
- 2 Exercise most effective lifestyle choice for preventing dementia, researchers say
- 3 Teenage girl convicted of robbery after taking pre-crime selfie wielding knife
- 4 Newly vegan Beyoncé wears fox fur to dine in meat free restaurant
- 5 'I'm experiencing austerity as well', says Princess Michael of Kent
- < Previous
- Next >