Chopin Unwrapped – Martino Tirimo (3)

Souvenir de Paganini, Op.posth.
Polonaise in B flat minor (Adieu), Op.posth.
4 Mazurkas, Op.41 – No.1 in C sharp minor; No.2 in E minor; No.3 in B; No.4 in A flat
Tarantelle, Op.43
Polonaise in F sharp minor, Op.44
2 Nocturnes, Op.55 – No.1 in F minor; No.2 in E flat
Scherzo in C sharp minor, Op.39
3 Valses, Op.70
4 Mazurkas, Op.24 – No.1 in G minor; No.2 in C; No.3 in A flat; No.4 in B flat minor
March Funèbre in C minor, Op.72/2
Piano Sonata No.2 in B flat minor, Op.35

Martino Tirimo (piano)

Reviewed by: Edward Clark

Reviewed: 12 February, 2010
Venue: Hall One, Kings Place, London

Martino Tirimo. Photograph: Francesco TirimoIn recent years Martino Tirimo has devoted time, care and attention to single composer projects. He has played the Beethoven sonatas, all of Mozart’s, Debussy’s and Janáček’s piano works and music by the Schumann family. We have heard rather less of Tirimo in the concerto repertoire due, possibly, to the shameful neglect of his art shown by our orchestras (he plays Michael Tippett’s Piano Concerto from memory and he recorded the work with the composer conducting).

Tirimo is playing the solo works of Chopin in the first half of this year. A pianist of great refinement and artistry, he has constantly performed the great Romantics apart from Chopin. So this conversion, or perhaps better said, opportunity to rediscover a Master is welcome from the mind and fingers of such an aristocratic performer. Playing immature works alongside established masterpieces throws new light on both. Hence the early March Funèbre in C minor (composed when aged 17) contains the seeds for the later slow movement in Piano Sonata No.2, the one following the other in this recital.

Tirimo began with another early work, Souvenir de Paganini, written under the spell of Paganini’s recitals in Warsaw. This work displays signs of keyboard virtuosity, but without the expected flashy technique. But this recital used as its cornerstone three towering masterpieces; the Polonaise in F sharp minor, the Scherzo in C sharp minor and the Piano Sonata in B flat minor. In each work Tirimo achieved miracles of light and shade, tremendous power when needed, runs of the most wonderful radiance, and depths of poetic nuance. These qualities were also in evidence in the various Mazurkas ; miniatures they might be, but as dispatched by Tirimo, these become intimate tone poems, galvanised by a lustrous imagination.

Tirimo uses the piano for displaying the wonder of wisdom. He achieves space when others fill the void. Each piece surveyed produced colour, variance and textural clarity. The piano becomes the medium to display Chopin’s great gifts for exposing desires and frailties. Tirimo and his piano, as on display in this quite magnificent recital, are literally indivisible in illuminating Chopin’s greatness. The encore was the tiny seventh Prelude from Opus 28.

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