JULIAN JACOBSON was at the
2010 Beethoven Intercollegiate Piano Competition
The annual Beethoven Piano Society of Europe's intercollegiate piano competition, in which pianists from the major UK conservatoires perform a set Bagatelle and an own-choice sonata, has come of age. Not one of the seven pianists in last year's event, held on Sunday 28 November 2010 at Blüthner's fine London showrooms in Mayfair, failed to illuminate his or her sonata in some personal way, frequently offering interpretations that showed affection and real individuality.
In past years, there has often been one truly memorable interpretation -- I recall particularly Andrejs Osokins from the Royal Academy in 2008 -- amid a group of worthy but perhaps not fully realised attempts. This year, the general 'levelling up' resulted, paradoxically, in a lack of a single outstanding performance: many sonatas had two excellent movements and one slightly disappointing (usually the finale, not the slow movement as is generally but lazily said of young performers, who are often at their best in the more spacious and 'Romantic' slow movements). Sometimes the most individual performers weren't the technically most secure, or vice versa...
Copyright © 5 January 2011 Julian Jacobson,