Benjamin Grosvenor in Mold

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Philip M
Posts: 137
Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:38 am

Benjamin Grosvenor in Mold

Post by Philip M » Mon Feb 24, 2020 2:37 am

I attended Benjamin Grosvenor’s recital last night at the Anthony Hopkins Hall in Theatr Clywd in Mold. For those who don’t know, Mold is in North Wales about 12 miles from Chester and hence the theatre has a Welsh spelling, with no “e”.

He opened with Rameau’s Gavotte and Variations, which was played beautifully, with each variation having it’s own character. And all played, as ever, with taste and musicality.

Beethoven’s E flat Sonata Op.7 followed. I last heard this live some 38 years ago, at an extraordinary Royal Festival Hall recital by Michelangeli, a performance that was subsequently released on CD on BBC Legends. You can here that performance here https://youtu.be/Ia0MyzDd15E. For me that ABM was one of the finest things ai have ever heard.


Grosvenor was completely different. He played the sonata in an almost Mozartean way, much lighter than ABM. It took me quite a while to get used to this more classical approach, and I just could not stop hearing the ABM weight in my head.


However, when we reached the slow movement - wow what a performance by Benjamin. This is in my view Beethoven’s first great slow movement and I confess that I was brought close to tears by the pathos, tenderness and bleakness of the playing. The remaining 2 movements were again very classical, played with enormous musicality.


After the interval there were 2 Liszt pieces. The rarely played Berceuse (Liszt’s tribute to Chopin’s) preceded the B minor Sonata. I heard Benjamin play this some 10 years ago when he was just 17. Perhaps not surprisingly last night’s performance was chalk and cheese. I’ve never heard so much inner detail in a performance of this sonata, nor one that was played with such poetry in the slow movement (which was the highlight for me). it was beautifully voiced. Benjamin always plays with such inherent poetry and at times I feel it inhibits him a bit in that he cannot release the sheer power and almost anger that the likes of Richter and Horowitz bring to this work. To be fair he was not helped by the piano or the hall. It was a very bright and not very good Bösendorfer that failed to project well into the rather cavernous hall. The sound seemed to up into the high roof rather than out to me sat out in row L.


There followed the regular 2020/21 encore from Benjamin, Liszt’s Gnomenreigen, impeccably and delicately played.


Philip

Ricordanza
Posts: 1948
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2005 4:58 am
Location: Southern New Jersey, USA

Re: Benjamin Grosvenor in Mold

Post by Ricordanza » Tue Feb 25, 2020 7:39 am

Thanks for this informative review, Philip.

I can't resist expressing pity for the residents of this town. In any social or business occasion they attend, their answer to the inevitable question is, "I live in Mold." :(

Rach3
Posts: 2024
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:17 am

Re: Benjamin Grosvenor in Mold

Post by Rach3 » Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:36 pm

Ricordanza wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 7:39 am
I can't resist expressing pity for the residents of this town. In any social or business occasion they attend, their answer to the inevitable question is, "I live in Mold." :(
Perhaps they use ( per Wiki ) the Welsh name : Yr Wyddgrug. That should change the subject !

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