Monday, September 29, 2014


Tomorrow night Daniil Trifonov is making his Royal Festival Hall recital debut - and if you're in London or within easyish reach of it, you need to get there. 

His programme is:

Johann Sebastian Bach: Fantasia and Fugue in G minor, BWV.542 arr. Liszt for piano
Ludwig Van Beethoven: Sonata in C minor, Op.111
Franz Liszt: 12 Etudes d'exécution transcendante, S.139

Now, it has been drawn to my attention that this concert hasn't sold terrifically well, and this, dear concert-goers, seems absurd. What's the matter? Have you already committed yourselves to another gig - perhaps Behzod Abduraimov's piano recital at the Wigmore Hall (in which case we forgive you, because a clash of this magnitude isn't your fault and should be preventable in an ideal pianophile's world). Or do you perhaps consider that Liszt's complete set of 12 Transcendental Etudes is a bit much, a bit niche or a bit too, well, Liszty? 

Is admitting to enjoying Liszt, perhaps, still a little like the guilty pleasure of laughing at the opera? Have you ever really heard these things? If they are played by a pianist who knows how to put them over as the 11-dimensional masterpieces they are - and to do so, he/she needs a totally transcendental technique, as the composer suggests - then they can shine out among the greatest piano works of the 19th century. 

Here is No.11, the desperately sexy Harmonies du soir, played by one of the Lisztians I love the most, Louis Kentner:

Daniil is 23 and one of the most fascinating artists I've had the pleasure of hearing and meeting. (Here's my impression of his QEH recital in 2012 and you can read my recent interview with him in Pianist magazine - order the back issue here.) He reminds me of a lion cub with big paws: already an astounding creature, but one who visibly has the potential to grow and grow and keep on growing. Last time I looked forward to a 23-year-old pianist's RFH recital so much, it was 1980 and the artist in question was Krystian Zimerman. (I was 14.)

Book here. Do it now. And remember, at the concert: Try Phone Off.