Chopin's Ballade No. 4 is still playing in my head - what a profound, solid and convincing ballade and I just loved the way Evelyne played it.
I think all our guests at this Soirée agreed that Evelyne gave a stunning performance.Â I'd like to write about Chopin's Ballade No. 4 in particular, for it has always been my favourite.Â Evelyne's mother, Elena, gave the pre-concert talk and quoted quoted John Ogdon who said "it is the most exalted, intense and sublimely powerful of all Chopin's compositions... It is unbelievable that it lasts only twelve minutes, for it contains the experience of a lifetime".Â And for the audience at Breinton, this life-time experience was expressed fully by 18-year old Evelyne.
The piece starts with gentle and short introductory measures, which lead into a highly melodical but serious theme that repeats itself in transformations.Â Evelyne told me that the beginning of this piece was the most difficult, but it seemed she just went into it, playing so beautifully without any effort!Â These first subject transformations are all beautiful, but as they develop they increase in complexity, demand high technical skills and challenge the performer's pianistic ability.Â Evelyne's playing was accurate, expressive and powerful, with a (big) hint of Russian Music School training, just the way I like!
The loud sounds she created were not the banging kind, but deep and profound sounds that vibrate inside your body.Â I also loved her pedal work, creating the most amazing effects.Â Towards the end of the piece, the music appears to come to a sudden end with three forte chords. While these chords were still lingering through effective pedalling, Evelyne started the next five pianissimo chords, which then lead into an impossibly demanding bravura coda.Â This may be trivial, but I hadn't heard it played like this before, and it was so impressive.
Throughout the programme, Evelyne showed her own interpretation of each piece she had chosen.Â Since most of the pieces are famous works of famous composers (and none more so than the opening for the evening, Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata), it was essential to have something different, something unique and striking.Â I think Evelyne was successful doing so.Â The first movement of Moonlight Sonata was subtly slower than the pace I am used to, but it was played carefully and beautifully with pianissimo, to create such a contrast with the lively second movement and the stormy third movement.Â Her dynamic arpeggios and accented notes were fabulous.
What a vibrant L'isle Joyese!Â I have commented on Evelyne's use of the pedal, but in this piece, she intentionally minimised this.Â I just loved it when, right at the beginning into the 6th or 7th bar, the left first came in.Â The whole affect was joyous, as the name suggests and full of beautiful passages.Â Absolutely gorgeous.
When I first met Evelyne at her own home in London, she played Liszt's Valle d'Obermann for me.Â I was very impressed, thinking how confidently and maturedly she played it.Â Very accurately too.Â Well, she played even better at our Soirée!Â By this point I was beaming with happiness; pleased that I had been able to arrange her to perform for us, and that I could see amazement on the faces of our audience.
And finally, one last piece as an encore,Scriabin's Waltz; this short but very melodical piece was my request.Â Thank you, Evelyne!
Let's look forward to her flourishing career as a pianist; she has a bright future ahead of her!Â Evelyne will play at Wigmore Hall in March next year, at the Chopin Memorial Concert.Â If you would like to see her return to Breinton next year, please let us know.
Finally, we cannot forget Elena.Â Her pre-concert talk was very informative and interesting.Â I know she spent extra time preparing it for us - my special thanks to her!
P.S.Â On top of everything, Evelyne was such a friendly girl.Â My daughter Erika and Evelyne made good friends by the end of the evening, which was wonderful!Â I think she could have been persuaded to stay on to watch the replay of theÂ X-Factor with Erika, but it was getting very late.....Â Glad to see the innocent face of an ordinary 18-year old girl, different from a gifted pianist who just finished performing for us!
Evelyne was born in Moscow in 1991. She started piano at the age of 5 and joined the class of Prof. Ilana Davids at the Purcell School of Music two years later. This year Evelyne will continue her studies with Prof. Hamish Milne at the Royal Academy of Music in London and with Elisso Virsaladze at Moscow Conservatoire.
Evelyne made her first public appearance at the age of seven at St. Luke"s Church in London and since then has performed at such concert venues as the Wigmore Hall, Steinway Hall, Regent Hall, South Bank Centre, St. John"s Smith Square, St Martin-in-the-Fields, St Jude-on-the-Hill, St Olave"s Church, Leighton House and Chopin Society in London, Great Hall of Moscow Conservatoire, and at concert venues in Germany, Holland, France, Norway and Japan, including a recital at the prestigious piano festival in La Roque d"Antheron.
- Beethoven - Piano Sonata in C sharp minor, Op. 27 No 2
- Brahms - Variations on a Theme by Schumann, Op. 9
- Chopin - Ballade No 4 in F minor, Op. 52
- Lizst - Vallée d'Obermann
- Debussy - L"Isle Joyeuse