Schubert: The Great Piano Works – Martino Tirimo at Kings Place (1/5: D780, D784, D850)

Moments musicaux, D780
Piano Sonata in A minor, D784Piano Sonata in D, D850

Martino Tirimo (piano)

Reviewed by: Edward Clark

Reviewed: 15 January, 2015
Venue: Hall One, Kings Place, London

Martino TirimoPhotograph: Francesco TirimoMartino Tirimo is one of the supreme Schubert scholars; he has completed various unfinished Piano Sonatas and produced his Urtext edition of the complete oeuvre. If this implies that, as an interpreter of Schubert, he adopts a dry and overly academic approach, nothing could be further than the truth. Having become immersed in the Schubert scores and having performed numerous complete cycles Tirimo has the uncanny ability to make the audience feel it is in the very presence of the composer.

Schubert reveals himself to a great degree in his piano pieces, writing them throughout his brief life. Hence he places every kind of emotion into the music. Tirimo replicates these utterly human feelings. He brings a remarkable clarity of thought, an empathy for Schubert’s wondrous music and an architectural understanding so that the composer’s often original structures become clear yet still intrigue in their innovation.

Opening with the delightful Moments musicaux, Tirimo produced a delicacy in his playing that was entrancing. The Piano Sonata in A minor was written under the shadow of Schubert contracting syphilis. It is a work that seeks to marry musical economy with feelings both tragic and sad. Tirimo maintained a firm grip on the music denying it a sense of self-pity that can easily spill over into morbid reflection. He brought out a sense of anger regarding fate dealing the composer the severest of penalties for his lifestyle. But the song-like slow movement was an oasis of calm and the beguiling finale, so simple at the opening and so stern at the end, was beautifully played.

The Sonata in D was written during a happy holiday in Gastein in 1825. Tirimo tore into the opening Allegro vivace with spirit and an unrelenting sense of momentum. In the slow movement he observed the con moto marking and brought out the exquisite invention. Throughout the energetic Scherzo and delightfully joyous finale he maintained a buoyancy of spirit, pointing to Schubert’s growing compositional originality and with it prophesies of future composers.

The little but engaging encore was a Dance in D from Sechs Atzenbrugger Deutsche. From Tirimo Schubert is elevated to the very greatest level in music. A visit to the Rembrandt exhibition at the National Gallery allows an exploration of the link between these two geniuses, where all humanity seems to flow from their individual creativity. Tirimo is one of the very few interpreters of Schubert who suggests this comparison. This was the first of five Schubert/Tirimo recitals at Kings Place.

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