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Julian Clef at London's Foundling Museum


Professionalism, discipline and musical sensitivity were qualities displayed by seventeen year old pianist Julian Clef at his superb recital at the Foundling Museum, Brusnwick Square, London UK on 3 April 2008. The concert was the second in a new series presented by the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe on the theme 'Beethoven and Youth', and was warmly received by an enthusiastic audience. Julian Clef recently won first prize in the 2008 BPSE Beethoven Junior Intercollegiate Piano Competition, which took place at the Bluthner Piano Centre in March. His winning piece, Beethoven's Appassionata Sonata Op 57, formed the opening work of this recital, followed by Chopin, Debussy and Prokofiev, highlighting his wider stylistic affinities.

Julian Clef playing at London's Foundling Museum. Photo © 2008 Ronald Stein
Julian Clef playing at London's Foundling Museum. Photo © 2008 Ronald Stein

There was plenty of drama in the first movement of Beethoven's Op 57, and some really nuanced control of dynamics that set the style for the whole programme. Despite his youth, Julian Clef shows a maturity in judicial choice of tempo to maximise the acoustic potential of an instrument and a hall: here in the resonant gallery, surrounded by richly coloured portraits from the 18th century, the warm and rich tone of the seasoned Broadwood piano was exploited to the full. Especially in the Andante variations, a rather brisk pace for the theme allowed one to rise to inspired heights as the movement progressed, while the brusque energy of the finale propelled us in bold accentuation into whirlwind textures, though never forced, and always delicately articulated.

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Copyright © 7 April 2008 Malcolm Miller, London UK


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