Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Meet Martin Helmchen

A morning chance to brush up your German and Dutch, from my next victim! ...seriously, this guy looks like becoming something very, very special. I will be doing a pre-concert talk with him at the Queen Elizabeth Hall tonight before his recital in the International Piano Series, where he'll be playing Bach, Messiaen and Schumann.

His new recording of Schubert is the pick of the month in BBC Music Magazine. He's won the Clara Haskil Competition and has been a BBC New Generations Artist and one of the select fellowship-holders on the Borletti-Buitoni Trust scheme. And he's only 26. I will be foregoing the world premiere of Vladimir Martynov's new opera at the RFH tonight in order to hear him.

In case you are considering going to the Martynov, though, rumblings suggest that it is very 'listenable' and that the singers are completely fabulous - well, they would be, as they include Joan Rodgers, Tatiana Monogarova and Mark Padmore. LPO & Vladimir Jurowski take it to New York next week. Here is an article by Jurowski himself about the piece from The Guardian the other day: "Torture by beauty". He says: "Some of the sounds and harmonies he employs in Vita Nuova are exactly that: tortuously beautiful, maybe more than an average European listener can take." (Why does this feel familiar, I wonder?)