Classical review: Daniil Trifonov In Recital

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In the first of three appearances at this year’s International Festival, Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov had the Usher Hall audience cheering, whistling and standing on their feet at the end of the first half of his recital there on Wednesday evening.

Star rating: *****

Venue: Usher Hall

In the first of three appearances at this year’s International Festival, Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov had the Usher Hall audience cheering, whistling and standing on their feet at the end of the first half of his recital there on Wednesday evening.

Still just 25 years old, Trifonov is so much more than a wünderkind. The mature precision and personally distinctive interpretation he brings to everything he plays are extraordinary qualities in any artist, never mind one so young. In a programme that called for virtuosity at every turn, Rachmaninov’s Piano Sonata No 1 was the most poetic of the three works. As Trifonov hunched forward over the keyboard or leapt off his stool to bear down on it, this was playing that demanded and held attention in a lengthy and introspective piece.

Brahms’s arrangement of Bach’s Chaconne from the D minor Partita for solo violin is written for left hand only. As if the piano was a natural extension of his own physicality, Trifonov astounded in bringing out the transcription’s many complexities.

Although much of the recital was Trifonov full-on, Liszt’s Grande etudes de Paganini had moments of delicacy, as if he was sprinkling fairy dust up and down the keys.

Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, Usher Hall, tonight 7:30pm. Daniil Trifonov & Friends, Queen’s Hall, 22 August, 11am.

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