Thursday, February 19, 2009

When Ivan met Glenn

Over in Toronto, young Serbian-American-Francophile piano hotshot Ivan Ilic (nothing to do with Tolstoy) is making his Canadian debut tonight in a recital at the Glenn Gould Studio and took the opportunity to get a photo with a local celebrity. "Glenn and I were talking about his favourite coffee-shops and Indian restaurants in Toronto," Ivan explains. "He offered me a few prescription drugs, I tried (unsuccessfully) to convince him about Chopin..." He also gives a lecture-recital at the city's Alliance Francaise tomorrow.

I much enjoyed his Debussy Preludes CD on the Paraty label, their order rather effectively (but very systematically) scrambled, which you can sample here. Look out for his London debut soon.

Very successful pre-concert chat last night with Martin Helmchen at the QEH yesterday. Earnest, curly-haired, high-cheekboned, possessed of silky and radiant tone plus fine-tuned brain, Martin proceeded to navigate his way brilliantly through the complexities of the Bach Sixth Partita (the one with the very scary last movement that always leaves me thinking 'THAT is a GIGUE?!')and three powerful extracts from Messiaen's Vingt Regards, towards which mighty complete cycle he's working his way steadily. But his style is made for Schubert. He's launched himself into the CD market with the big A major sonata, a disc that drew an out-and-out rave from BBC Music Mag.

What a very pianoy week this seems to be.