YOUNG PIANIST OF DAZZLING FRESHNESS Newark Music Club has a long association with the Leeds International Piano Competition, which is among the top six contests in the world.
Part of its commitment to the Leeds is to offer an engagement to one of the six finalists at each triennial competition and over the years Newark has been privileged to see and hear some very talented young musicians. This year was no exception when the Club invited Jayson Gillham to give a recital at its second concert at the Palace Theatre last Saturday.
Jayson is a young Australian who came to this country in 2007 and has achieved a great deal in the last six years. Apart from contest success, he was voted the Commonwealth Musician of the Year in 2012, the same year as he won the hearts and interest of music lovers across the country when he came third at the Leeds Competition.
Sir Mark Elder, who conducted his performance of Beethoven's 'Emperor' Concerto at the final, was moved to comment, "He makes a very strong firm sound, different from all the others, with a sort of glow â always a lovely sound."
Last Saturday's audience could echo that sentiment; from the moment he came on stage, with his youthful good looks and easy manner, he performed a recital of music by four of the greatest ever composers for piano, works played with dazzling technical virtuosity but also great poise and feeling. Jayson is not one to shirk a challenge. He opened his programme with the fiendishly difficult Waldstein Sonata, Opus 53 by Beethoven, a work which explores the extreme limits of the piano and the artistâs technique. Both were found equal to the task and many members of the audience remarked on the freshness of his interpretation.
The rest of the first half was taken up by two of Liszt's transcriptions of other composers' music, in this case, Wagner and Verdi, both celebrating their birth bicentenary. The Transcription of Wagner's 'Liebestod' was particularly fine and Jayson achieved intense emotion and drama in his phrasing. The second half prompted the pianist to explain his views on Debussy's piano music and the audience responded to his simple charm and obvious love of all music. He then treated us to a superb performance of four pieces from Book Two of the French composer's Ãtudes, Number 12 being especially impressive.
The concert ended with two pieces by Chopin, the Impromptu No. 3, Opus 51 and the Polonaise Fantaisie, Opus 61, a wonderful climax to an evening of superb artistry, encompassing great technique and sensitivity with the music. We even had a Chopin etude for an encore. During his participation in the Warsaw Competition in 2010, the Chairman of the jury remarked,, 'Jayson has a deep natural musicality â at times, he reminded me of the moderation and taste of Artur Rubinstein, qualities in short supply in this competition.' The audience showed their appreciation and recognised Jayson's very special talent.
Member since: 10th July 2012
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