Bach, Shstakovich, Beethoven & Chopin
Johann Sebastian Bach
Prelude and Fugue in B minor (WTK, Book II, No.24), BWV 893
Preludes 1 to 12 from 24 Preludes for Piano Op34
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata No. 6 in F, Op. 10 No. 2
24 Preludes Op 28
A great ovation was afforded the young Romanian pianist, Alexandra Dariescu, at the end of her well attended recital at the United Reformed Church on Sunday afternoon 17th November.
Starting with J.S.Bach's final Prelude and Fugue in B flat minor, she contrasted this with 12 Preludes, Op.34, by Shostakovitch which cover a gamut of musical expression including the scintillating brilliance of Nos. 5 & 9, the querky rhythms of Nos. 6 & 8 and the pensive introspection of No.10. These Preludes,and also those of Chopin, were written to explore the potential of every major key and it`s relative minor -- half the number of Shostakovitch`s but the full 24 of Chopin`s are being performed today.
As an extra item to the programme she followed with a fine performance of the short Beethoven Sonata, Op.10 No.2, the last movement of which was played at a whirlwind pace but with every note in place, an achievement which brought the house down!
After the interval we heard all of Chopin's 24 Preludes, Op.28, mostly short pieces and again covering a vast range of emotions and virtuoso pianistic demands, (extraordinary to think that these were written by the hand of a dying man) and all of which Alexandra tackled with great musical insight and sensitivity confirming the fact that this young artiste is of major stature in the musical firmament. She has not only remarkable pianistic abilities, but has a charming manner of communicating with her audience and speaking about the music which means so much to her.
It is a privilege for the URC Music Society to host such an artiste, but it is typical of the quality of the concerts in this relatively little known venue at 83 Portsmouth Road, Guildford. Here, Wigmore Hall standards of live music can be heard monthly throughout the year at a fraction of the cost of reaching and attending the London musical scene.
Named BBC Music Magazine ‘Rising Star’, Alexandra Dariescu made her debut at the Carnegie Hall in New York, where she joined András Schiff during his “Perspectives” residency in 2012. Alexandra performs regularly in the UK with orchestras such as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Hallé, BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Sinfonia ViVA, Northern Sinfonia and collaborates with conductors such as Vasily Petrenko, Jiri Belohlavek, Ryan Wigglesworth, Andrew Litton, Andrew Gourley, André de Ridder, Jamie Phillips, Barry Wordsworth among others. She appears at major concert halls including the Royal Albert Hall, London’s Southbank Centre, Barbican, Wigmore Hall, Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham, Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow.
Alexandra released her debut CD on Champs Hill Records in July 2012 to critical acclaim, including a 4 star review in BBC Music Magazine and top 10 best CDs of the year in Manchester Evening News. As a result, Champs Hill Records invited her to record a set of 3 discs with complete preludes starting with Chopin and Dutilleux in 2013. Committed to contemporary music, Alexandra gave the world premiere of Mesmerism, a new piano concerto written for her by British composer Emily Howard. The concerto won the British Composer Award 2012 and was broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Alexandra also gave the UK premiere of Dinu Lipatti’s Concertino in Classical Style with the Orchestra of St Paul’s at LSO St Luke’s, supported by the Romanian Cultural Institute in London.
Having directed the EU Chamber Orchestra in Germany as well as Northern Chamber Orchestra from the keyboard, Alexandra toured Argentina and the Channel Islands, joined the faculty of the Geneva International Summer Festival and Academy and gave concerts in the Les Nouveaux Interprètes series in Switzerland. She appears with the Mecklenburgische Staatskappelle in Schwerin in Germany and with Durban Philharmonic Orchestra in South Africa.
Selected by Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) in 2008, Alexandra was a Laureate at the Verbier Festival Academy in Switzerland where she won the Verbier CUBS Prize. She went on to win the Guildhall Wigmore Prize and the Romanian Ambassador‘s award for her outstanding contribution to promoting Romania’s image in the UK, as well as the Prix Maurice Ravel in France. Alexandra is the first pianist to be mentored by Imogen Cooper through the Royal Philharmonic Society/YCAT Philip Langridge Mentoring Scheme and she appeared at the Cheltenham Festival in the PLMS Gala, which was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.
Born in Romania, Alexandra Dariescu studied in Iasi (Romania), Pocklington School and at the Royal Northern College of Music (UK) where her teachers included Nelson Goerner, Mark Ray, Alexander Melnikov and Dina Parakhina and was supported in full by the Associate Board of the Royal Schools of Music. She graduated in 2008 with distinction and the highest distinction College offers, the Gold Medal. Alexandra graduated with distinction holding a Masters’ of Performance degree from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London where she studied with Ronan O'Hora. She was awarded the GSMD Piano Fellowship for 2010/2011. Alexandra was also part of András Schiff’s class at the Yehudi Menuhin Festival in Switzerland.
“Dariescu revelled in this wonderful music of might, breadth and resonance with deliciously sparkling playing that had real gravitas”
RLPO/ Wigglesworth Music Web International 2013
"Magnificently projected playing", "enormously impressive", "very promising debut"
BBC Music Magazine 4 * 2012
Shostakovich, represented by his glorious second piano concerto, dispatched with aplomb by the Romanian pianist Alexandra Dariescu….it was the poetic charm of the central andante which proved to be so ravishing.
Liverpool Echo / RLPO & Vasily Petrenko / July 2013
"Fleet of finger, elegant of phrase and pianistically bright, Dariescu uses rubato freely but intelligently...She brings luminescence and a sense of wistful joy".
Music Web International 2012
“Dariescu’s beguiling musicality, unfussy technique, and individual voice are all readily apparent. We may confidently look forward to more fine music from this interesting young artist”
Fanfare Magazine 2012