What professionalism!  What musicianship, and what talent!  Pianist Alexei Grynyuk had it all.  The whole audience was swept away by Alexei's pianism on Saturday evening.  Let me share some post-recital excitement, quoting a  message I received:  "....what a wonderful recital.  What a delight and privilege to listen to such superlative pianism.  I'm still reeling from Alexei's incredible skill and the sumptuous content of the program.  Fabulous."

 

The first half of his program was Chopin.  He opened the concert with Polonaise, in C sharp minor.  I like this Polonaise as it is very diverse and has many moods.  This was followed by Nocturne in F which had a very warm and tender theme.  I was unfamiliar with the third piece, Variations in E on the Air, but what a cute and sweet melody it had!  All the variations were gorgeously played and thoroughly enjoyable.  Next, another beautiful Nocturne, in C sharp minor.  I think the program was cleverly designed, as with these pieces, the tension and momentum was slowly building up to the climax of the first half, Polonaise in A flat 'œHeroic'.  Alexei"s interpretation of this piece was different from any pianists I"ve heard play it before '“ it was well structured and controlled.  I think it is very easy for any pianists to drive this piece forcefully;  Alexei"s version had sensitivity and gentleness, but power and strength at the same time.  Truly moving.  The persistent left-hand octaves were just amazing to watch!

 

All the way through the Chopin pieces I was admiring Alexei"s keyboard work.  His fingers do all the wonders!  You know, Lionel always puts me in the tiny corner seat, but I actually enjoy sitting there!  At least I"m very close to the pianists and can observe their fingers (especially the left hand).

The second half began with Beethoven"s 'œAppassionata' Sonata.  Alexei"s Appassionata had everything you wanted to hear from Beethoven '“ desperate passion, agony, temper, pain and agitation, yet at the same such sensitivity.  What gentleness and care Alexei"s playing had to start off those first dark phrases of the first movement.  And the powerful fortissimo that followed - I just loved it.  His arpeggios were thrilling to look at, not to mention to listen to.  Then in the second movement, an incredibly beautiful andante.  This movement has a series of serene chords, which were played so beautifully.  Slowly, as the movement progressed and reached towards the end, it was interrupted by unpleasant chords, which led into the final movement and everything was back to the fast pace once again.  I so much enjoyed listening to this Sonata, and loved the way Alexei played, reflecting contrasts between the movements so effectively.

Everybody"s jaw dropped with the last piece, Liszt"s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2.  This piece seems technically impossible to play, or, rather it is easy to play very badly.  And to produce some kind of musicality out of this super-demanding piece seems utterly impossible, but Alexei did it!  He wasn"t just playing the score '“ it was alive, witty and playful at places, and full of expressions.

I think Alexei is a wonderful pianist.  His serious and professional attitude towards music was something to note.  Prior to the concert, he spent a great deal of time and effort getting the acoustics right for our audience.  I could sense that he would not allow any compromise to get everything right, and he did indeed deliver a stunning performance for us.  I cannot thank Alexei more '“ an absolute triumph!

About Alexei

Ukrainian pianist Alexei Grynyuk studied at the Kiev Conservatoire before winning a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music where he studied with Hamish Milne. Notable competition successes include the first prize at the Dyagilev Competition in Moscow, the Vladimir Horowitz Competition in Kiev and the Shanghai Piano Competition in China.

Alexei Grynyuk"s increasingly international career has included recital appearances at Wigmore Hall & South Bank Centre in London, Salle Cortot & Salle Gaveau in Paris and the Great Hall of Moscow Conservatoire, as well as in Japan, South Korea and Morocco.

Read Alexei's complete Biography.

Programme

Chopin

  • Polonaise in C# minor Op 26 No.1
  • Nocturne in F Op.15 no.1
  • Variations in E on the air 'œDer Schweizerbub: Steh"auf, steh"auf o du Schweitzer Bub'
  • Nocturne in C# minor Op.27 no.1
  • Polonaise in A flat 'œHeroic' op.53

Beethoven

  • Sonata op.57 "Appassionata"

Liszt

  • Sonetto 104 del Petrarca
  • Hungarian Rhapsody No.2 (arr Horowitz)

    Encore:  Consolation No 4