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<<<  <<  -- 3 --  Malcolm Troup    JULIAN JACOBSON


After the interval Jacobson left behind all things Germanic, whose lines are made up of points or links in a chain, to revel in the French approach, where lines are conceived as 'streams' of sound. One of the principal glories of Ravel's Tombeau de Couperin which we now heard was the fugue -- perfectly poised with not a note too many or too few. In the Rigaudon and Toccata so secure was Jacobson in projecting his vision that even where his fingers seemed at risk of being thrown off course by the tight corners they were called upon to negotiate, he would use his hands like brushes hinged at the wrists for applying the washes of colour which refused to be painted in by finger-technique alone.

The miniature Kapustin and Scriabin pieces which followed were a sop to the Russian school (mark you, the third after the preceding French and German schools in which Jacobson was to prove his mettle!) which would only burst upon us in all its über-pianistic resplendence in Stravinsky's Firebird, transcribed by Guido Agosti, surely intended by the latter as a ne plus ultra prequel to the much-abused Petrushka-Suite in the composer's own transcription. Almost verging on the unplayable and coming at the end of a programme which had begun as if of the stuff of dreams, this was more the stuff of miracles and what with the concentration, intensity and entrega [surrender] which this performer compels on the part of his public, left us -- but not himself -- reeling from the impact. After two recalls, on the third he plunged us into the amniotic bath of the Cathédrale engloutie as if to get us centred again; then, despite two further clamorous curtain-calls, nothing -- and the evening of mighty deeds of pianistic derring-do had reached its end.

No longer one of British music's best-kept secrets, Julian Jacobson, on the evidence of this paragonic recital, has elevated himself into the company of the elect where, along with Bernard Roberts and a few other such kindred spirits, he is destined to hold us in thrall for many birthdays to come.

Copyright © 3 December 2007 Malcolm Troup, London UK





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