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Concert 3 began with a further K1-5 selection: 2 Menuette in G (with Trio in C) and F, an Allegro in B flat, further Menuette -- again in the key of F; 'London Chelsea Sketchbook' K15 -- pieces 11-14; then K24 and K25 -- 8 Variations in G on a Dutch Song by Graaf, 7 Variations on 'Willem van Nassau', composed early in 1782 -- the year Mozart married Constanze Weber. Such grace and virtuosity, complete with inventiveness, key and gear changes galore! Divine inspirations stemming from the contrapuntal writings of J S Bach and Handel. The second half reflected the reverse side of the coin: Dance-like in the Gigue in G, K574, afterwards a parody in the shape of Marche funèbre del Signor Maestro Contrapunto K453a -- pasted into the album of Mozart's talented pupil Barbara Ployer, with its 'bizarre overstatements and almost tormented undertones' (Tirimo's words). Then came the Sonata in D K311 with all its brightness and grace rounding off the first half. The matching charm of the remainder contrasted the Twelve Variations in E flat on 'La belle Française' (1778) with the effervesent Sonata in F K332 (1781).

Fascination for key changes became the main contention behind Concert 4. After Nos 15-18 from 'London Chelsea Sketchbook' came the explosive Sonata in F K547a. Then the 'Modulating Prelude' (F major-E minor) which, fused with the unrelated 'Fragment from a Prelude' K624 (K626a) logically established them as one work. Music exploring a succession of keys: Präludium (Capriccio) in C K395, Menuett in D K355, Adagio in B minor (from 1777, 1789 and 1788 respectively) was followed by the Sonata in G K283. In part 2, Six Variations in G on 'Mio caro Adone' K180, by his old rival Salieri who had settled in Vienna in 1788, followed by the delightful Andante for Mechanical Organ K616 -- spanning just three octaves, Sonata-movement in G minor K312 (the following year), and the beloved Sonata in A 'Alla Turca' (1781) with all repeats.

Tirimo's relaxed position at the keyboard showed poised wrists supported by shoulder and neck to give ease of control and manipulation of finger touch. In side profile, the head reminded me of Leff Pouishnoff, an old favourite from my teenage years. The most important attributes were a fabulous command of memory, including the occasional odd lapse, together with a remarkable tonal variety and a sustained flexibility of rhythmic colourings.

Copyright © 14 September 2006 Bill Newman, Edgware UK


Martino Tirimo's final four London Mozart recitals take place on 3 and 18 October, 1 November and 1 December 2006. Details from Cadogan Hall.

Bill Newman's conversation with Martino Tirimo was published at M&V in 2002. There's more news about the pianist online at

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