THE FINAL OF THE LISZT SOCIETY INTERNATIONAL PIANO COMPETITION 2018
Our splendid banners (continued thanks to Mark Viner) inside and outside St Mary’s once again heralded the final of our competition – this being the sixth instalment. We heard four excellent finalists, all of whom played to a very high standard and offered some finely chosen repertoire,and who all merited the proper accolade of ‘true Lisztian’. The preliminary on-line auditions had been managed Mark Viner and Leslie Howard, who were joined on the final jury by Melvin Cooper.
Corbin Beisner (USA, b. 1988) is already a distinguished pianist with a burgeoning career. His playing of the Petrarch Sonnet 104 and the Dante Sonata showed the wealth of artistic experience that lay behind very assured and absolutely note-perfect accounts. His apparently unperturbable demeanour at the keyboard affords him a justified air of true musical authority, and his performance was masterly.
Phillip Leslie (UK, b. 1994) also played the Sonetto 104, and finished with the familiar Rigoletto Paraphrase, but inbetween gave us two more rarely-encountered pieces: the first of the Cypresses at the Villa d’Este, and thequirky Csárdás obstinée. This is a player of culture and refinement,as all his performances testified.
Pascal Pascaleff (Bulgaria, b. 1991) is a very impulsive player, and perhaps needs to rein in the tiger somewhat, even though his keyboard skills are astonishing to the point of making his work seem effortless. His Valse oubliée no. 1 was a little bit nervous to be quite as elegant as it might have been, and his Dante Sonata was spirited, if occasionally somewhat splashy.
When Raymond Wui Man Yiu (UK, b. 1993) began his deeply-felt account of La lugubre gondolaII it showed him straight away to be a superior artist. If he would only control his constant singing and humming whilst he is playing he would surely attain the heights. Unfortunately, with the Weinen, Klagen Variations the level of concentration began to slip,and a certain amount of improvisation took place. But – vocalising aside – this is a proper musician!
THE JURY’S VERDICT
The Annual Day came to a happy conclusion with the unanimous decisions of the jury to award the first prize to Corbin Beisner, and the runner’s-up award to Phillip Leslie. Both of these memorable pianists will perform for us (and for the Keyboard Charitable Trust) again; Corbin Beisner is already booked to play at the next Liszt Society Annual Day. We shall continue to encourage all four of our finalists.
Watch the jury deliver their verdict in November 2017.
The 2017 winner was Keishi Suzuki - Rapsodie hongroise XII, S.244/12, Faribolo Pasteur, Chanson tirée du Poème de Françonnetto de Jasmin, S.236/1, Rapsodie hongroise XIII, S.244/13.
Runner-up was Luca Monachino - Isoldens Liebestod – Schlußszene aus Richard Wagners Tristan und Isolde, S.447, Etudes d’exécution transcendante, S.139 no.10 Allegro agitato, Ab-Irato – Grande étude de perfectionnement, S.143, Heroischer Marsch in ungarischem Stil, S.231.
Svyatoslav Antipov - Sechs Praeludien und Fugen für die Orgel Pedal und Manual von Johann Sebastian Bach, S.462 [BWV 543-548] no.1 [in A minor], Années de pèlerinage, troisième année, S.163 no.3 Aux cyprès de la Villa d’Este – Thrénodie II, no.4 Les jeux d’eaux à la Villa d’Este.
Daniele Buccio - Beethoven/Liszt Symphony no. 8, S.464/8.
Vincenzo Gambuzza - Vierter Mephisto-Waltzer, S.696, Soirées de Vienne – Valses-Caprices, S.427 no.6 Allegro con strepito, Rapsodie hongroise IV, S.244/4, Etudes d’exécution transcendante, S.139 no.7 ‘Eroica’
Vincent Letourmy - Die Trauergondol – La lugubre gondola II, S.200/2, Années de pèlerinage, deuxième année – Italie, S.161, no.6 Après une lecture de Dante – Fantasia quasi Sonata.
Zhu Sun - Harmonies poétiques et réligieuses, S.173 no.3 Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude, Rapsodie hongroise XII, S.244/12.
Giosuè de Vincenti - 12 Lieder von Franz Schubert, S.558 no. 4 ‘Erlkönig’, Réminiscences de Norma – Grande fantaisie, S.394.
Prior to the 2017 competition, the 2016 Runner-up Edward Leung gave a wonderful recital.
The 2016 winner was Tyler Hay - Fantasie und Fuge über das Motiv B-A-C-H. S.529ii, Variationen über ein Motiv (basso ostinato) aus der Kantate "Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen". S. 180.
Runner-up was Edward Leung - Deux Légendes. No. 2, St. Francois de Paule marchant sue les flots. S175/2, Réminisences de Norma. S394.
Kheng Hoe Low - Sarabande und Chaconne aus dem Singspiel Almira. S181, Études d'exécution transcendante, Mazeppa. S. 139/4, Liebeslied (Widmung) von Robert Schumann. S. 566.
Asagi Nakata - Sarabande und Chaconne aus dem Singspiel Almira. S181, Années de Pèlerinage - Deuxième année - Italie. Sonetto 123 del Petrarca. S 161/6, Trois Etudes de Concert, No 2 La Leggierezza. S 144/2.
Keishi Suzuki - Mozart - Ave Verum Corpus, Berlioz - Grand Symphonie fantastique, op 14 - No 4 Marche au supplice. S.470.
Prior to the 2016 competition, the 2015 finalist Yuanfan Yang, gave a superb recital, comprising Rachmaninoff: Six Moments Musicaux, opus 16 No 1 in B flat minor, No 4 in E minor. Paderewski: Intermezzo Polacco, opus 14 no. 5, Thema varié, opus 16 no. 3. Yuanfan Yang: Waves, Liszt: Années de Pèlerinage - Première Année - Suisse, S160 No. 6 Vallée d'Obermann, Fantasie und Fuge über das Motiv B-A-C-H. S.529ii.
St. Mary’s Church, Perivale, UB6 8SS