Julian Jacobson's Wigmore Hall recital
impresses MALCOLM MILLER
The monumental reading of Beethoven's 'Diabelli' Variations at the end of a stunning recital by Julian Jacobson at London's Wigmore Hall on 5 July 2010 affirmed pianism of the highest order. If the 'Diabelli' may be considered a homage to Bach's 'Goldberg' variations, so, aptly, was Jacobson's programme, which began with Bach's Prelude and Fugue in C sharp minor (Well-Tempered Klavier, Book I), resonant yet sinewy, the fugue's five voices moving in harmonious interchanges.
Especially original was his ingenious postmodern interweaving of Liszt and Kurtág miniatures, five late Liszt with five pieces from the Book 5 of Kurtág's 'Games' (Jatekok). Here stylistic contrasts and connections illuminated each composer in new and stimulating ways, as in Kurtág's La fille aux cheveux de lin -- enrage, where Debussy's famous prelude is quoted then transformed, its calmness giving way to extravert scalic and chordal outbursts and abrupt leaps. In Liszt's innocently lyrical En Reve Jacobson drew out a magical intimacy, with the poignant bell-like harmonies of the conclusion leading smoothly into the more atonal, meditative chords of Kurtág's Les Adieux, which dissolves into ethereal modernist clusters...
Copyright © 22 July 2010 Malcolm Miller,