J.S.Bach, Schubert, Bartok & Rachmaninov
Italian Concerto in F BWV971
Prelude and Fugue in B flat minor BWV 867 (Well-Tempered Klavier Bk. 1)
Drei Klavierstücke D. 946
— Interval —
Piano Sonata, Sz.80 (1926)
Sonata No.2 in B flat minor op.36 (1913)
Yet another brilliant young pianist played for us on Sunday afternoon 18th November when Daniel Lebhardt gave a recital of music from the 17th and 20th century. Still in his twenties and with a string of prizes and prestigious concerts to his name this Hungarian musician proved to possess a powerful technique and deep musical insight.
Starting with J.S. Bach`s three movement "Italian Concerto", the first Adagio section was perhaps a little fast and with too much pedal which rather spoilt the clarity enjoyed when Bach is played without, or with very little, sustaining pedal. The Andante was very enjoyable with a nice singing tone but the final Presto might also have been better with less pedal. The same composer`s Prelude and Fugue in Bflat minor BWV867 had a fine cantabile touch in the first part and with very distinctive entries in the fugue giving a most satisfying performance.
The Schubert "Drei Klavierstucke" or Three piano pieces written in 1828, shortly before his death and edited later on by Brahms is written in the manner of the composer`s impromptus but are very much longer and more complicated. Daniel gave a very spirited rendering of the first part, a charming lyrical middle section, and a lively and exciting conclusion to this extremely extensive work with its highly syncopated finale.
After the interval Daniel really came into his own in works by Bartok and Rachmaninov, all of which he performed with the verve and power for which his formidable technique was more than adequate. Fellow countryman Bela Bartok`s Piano Sonata Sz.80 is a wonderful work in three movements, the outer pair being intensely exciting with highly dissonant harmonies and angular and erratic timing, altogether providing an ugly yet strangely beautiful assault on the senses! Between these jagged extremes lies a heavy and ponderous middle section full of foreboding of what is to come.
Lastly, the original version of the Rachmaninov Second Piano Sonata written in 1913 completed the programme with three movements of virtuosic piano playing. Similar to the Bartok in that the two outer movements are of eye watering difficulty, they also encase a slower, calmer middle section enabling the pianist to prepare for the final onslaught into which he is propelled without a break.
After prolonged applause, Daniel gave a superb rendering of the Rachmaninov Gsharp minor Prelude Op,32 as an encore to bring conclusion to this splendid recital.
In 2014 Daniel won 1st Prize at the Young Concert Artists auditions in Paris and New York. A year later he was invited to record music by Bartók for Decca and in 2016 won the Most Promising Pianist prize at the Sydney International Competition.
During the 2017/18 season Daniel made his debut with the State Academic Symphony Orchestra in St. Petersburg and the CBSO Youth Orchestra in Birmingham. He returned to the Louvre in Paris, and Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in Germany and gave concerts in the USA, Canada, China, Colombia, Argentina and Chile. In the UK he took part in the Nottingham, Oxford and Birmingham International Piano Festivals (the latter broadcast by Radio 3), performed Mozart with the European Union Chamber Orchestra and appeared at Saffron Hall as soloist, and chamber musician.
Future engagements include debut recitals at the Lucerne, Heidelberger-Frühling and Tallinn International Festivals. He gives a Coffee Concert at Wigmore Hall, a recital at Merkin Concert Hall in New York, and performs Mozart at the Royal Festival Hall.
Since 2016 Daniel has performed widely in the US, giving recitals at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Gardner Museum in Boston, Morgan Library and Merkin Concert Hall in New York (to critical acclaim in the NY Times), and in Florida, Seattle, Arizona and Pittsburgh. Solo highlights include performances of Rachmaninov’s Concerto No.2 with the Auburn and Dearborn Symphony Orchestras in Washington and Michigan.
As a chamber musician, Daniel regularly collaborates with violinist Benjamin Baker and the Castalian Quartet. He took part in the BBC Proms Composer Portrait of Olga Neuwirth broadcast by BBC Radio 3 and has worked with Mark van der Wiel, Eivind Holtsmark Ringstad and Jonathan Bloxham.
Born in Hungary, Daniel studied at the Franz Liszt Academy with István Gulyás and Gyöngyi Keveházi and at the Royal Academy of Music with Pascal Nemirovski. He has participated in masterclasses with Alfred Brendel, Stephen Hough, Leslie Howard, Natalia Trull, and more recently with Ferenc Rados and RIta Wagner at IMS Prussia Cove. He was selected by Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) in 2015 and is currently based in Birmingham at the Royal Conservatoire where he is enrolled on an Advanced Diploma in Performance.
International awards include 1st Prize at the 2009 Russian Music Competition in California, 2nd Prize at the 2011 Lagny-sur-Marne International Competition in France and 5th Prize at the 2013 China International Piano Competition.
Daniel Lebhardt Shows Daring Command in a New York Debut
He brought narrative sweep and youthful abandon to the piece, along with power, poetry and formidable technique.
New York Times - Tommasini / Merkin Concert Hall / March 2016
Daniel Lebhardt rose to [Rachmaninov Sonata No. 2’s] fearsome technical challenges giving the work both a propulsive dramatic sweep and lots of soulful lyricism. The result was intensely exciting, imaginative and full of colour.
Nottingham Post / Royal Concert Hall Nottingham / November 2017
...the gifted pianist Daniel Lebhardt, brought virtuosity, refinement and youthful exuberance...
New York Times / Merkin Concert Hall / January 2018