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Seen and Heard Recital Review


Brahms, Scriabin, Debussy: Simon Trpceski (piano), QEH, 4.12.2005 (CC)



Simon Trpceski, in his introduction to this recital, referred back to the 2000 World Piano Competition, which, he says, set his career in motion. He did not win (Antti Siirala did, somewhat controversially), but since he has made quite an impression.

Almost as if to shy away from virtuoso antics, Trpceski's chosen programme was broadly reflective in mood. Late Brahms is a hellishly difficult way to begin a recital as it requires absolute concentration from all concerned, and it is a great credit to Trpceski that he gave the Three Intermezzos, Op. 117 to a largely silent audience. In fact, Trpceski's performance was characterized by an innate sensitivity – weighting of chords towards the end of the first Intermezzo was exquisite, his sense of scale in the second beyond reproach and his projection of Brahmsian hesitancy in the third spot on. A shame latecomers were admitted between this and the other Intermezzo Trpceski programmed, the well-known Op. 118 No. 2. Atmosphere was all but ruined, and it took a lot to realize that Trpceski's fluid middle section was (interestingly) more demarcated than usual from its surroundings.

Scriabin's Second Sonata ('Sonata-fantasy' in G sharp minor) was shot through with a tensile strength. Scriabin's characteristically snaky, chromatic lines were subjected to rigorously delineated voice-leading where appropriate, and juxtapositions were sudden and abrupt. No doubting Trpceski's technical command here. Interestingly this very facility came across as explicitly Scriabinesque.

Debussy's two sets of Images made up the second part of the recital. Trpceski's musicality was once more on show for Debussy's Images. Opting for his warmest tone yet, 'Relfets dans l'eau' immediately transported one to an Impressionist world. The 'lointain' chording of the Rameau-inspired second piece led to a finale marked by its careful use of pedal and its supreme finger evenness. The second book of Images (from two years later) revealed just how intelligent a player Trpceski is. He just stopped the second movement ('Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut') from being over-luxuriant, then brought a wonderful sense of insouciance to the dotted rhythms of 'Poissons d'or'. Here in the latter, gentle wit was delightfully present. Trpceski seems to grow and grow as a musician. His progress will be eagerly watched.



Colin Clarke


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