Another year at Breinton has flown by; we concluded our 2012/2013 season at Breinton with a spectacular concert on Sunday 16 June with Jack Liebeck and Katya Apekisheva.

Brahms Sonata No. 1 drew us straight away into the dreamy, romantic world of the violin and piano. In my opinion, this Sonata grows on you – the more you listen to it, the more addicted you get to its beauty. Unlike the Franck Sonata which we heard in the second half, it has no distinctive and striking features as such, but it offers such breathtaking and lyrical melodies. We heard the most beautiful phrasing - I got carried away particularly with the second movement Adagio. I found the violin so moving and emotional, and Katya's piano was like a constant flowing river which warmly and gently embraced the violin. 

The atmosphere changed completely with the Stravinsky Divertimento. Jack said that this piece is not often performed and that it was a typical Stravinsky composition which made everything complicated. It was vibrant and diverse; though certainly complicated and full of unpredictable moves, these musicians performed it with absolutely no hint of difficulty. The Adagio of the 4th section Pas de deux gave us the most lyrical moments. 

By the way, I loved sitting behind Katya. I observed with pleasure how her fingers worked wonders on the keyboard, effortlessly making colourful sounds. I noticed my friend and keen amateur pianist Steve was doing the same! Another friend, Angela, a keen amateur violinist, was enthusiastically observing Jack's playing whilst carefully studying his score which obviously was placed in a way  that she could see it. 

The long awaited Franck's Sonata was played after the interval. This was the first time we have heard this masterpiece at Breinton; I always think this Sonata offers every possible emotion and state of mind of a human. The first movement starts calm, with a gentle and pleasant rocking motion. Then clouds start to develop into the forceful and tense 2nd movement, with thunderous piano. Passionate and dramatic, you experience an emotional roller coaster in this movement, which suddenly comes to a halt in the major key.  The 3rd movement calms down in tempo, its indescribably mellow violin melody gives a mixed feeling of bitter sweetness, sadness and sourness. The lively finale, which goes through emotional changes in itself, features a soaring soul. Over all, it is all about love, all about life. That is the reason why this Sonata is adored by many. So the performance given by Jack and Katya? I think what I've just described above summarizes what we heard. What a beautiful drama. It was a thoughtful and convincing performance, full of contrasts and maturity. The duo's partnership was unquestionable.

Kreisler's playful Tambourin Chinois brought a fresh breeze into the room. I never get bored with this fun piece. Jack didn't forget to impress us with a bouncing bow and fast finger movements.

Encore piece was the extremely romantic Schön Rosmarin. This definitely guaranteed everybody a sweet dream.

Jack Liebeck Born in London in 1980, Jack Liebeck made his concerto debut with the Hallé Orchestra aged fifteen. Since then he has established himself as one of the most compelling young violinists on the concert platform. He has performed with many of the worlds leading orchestras including the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Indianapolis Symphony, English Chamber, Belgian National, Bournemouth Symphony, Lausanne Chamber, London Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic, Philharmonia, Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam, Polish National Radio Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and under the baton of conductors including Martyn Brabbins, Roy Goodman, Gunter Herbig, Alexander Lazarev, Sir Neville Marriner, Sakari Oramo, Libor Pesek, Jukka Pekka Saraste, Yuri Simonov, Leonard Slatkin, Bramwell Tovey and Barry Wordsworth.

Jack is a committed chamber musician and in 2002 made his acclaimed London recital debut to a sold-out Wigmore Hall. Musical collaborations have included performances with Katya Apekisheva, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Michael Collins, Julius Drake, Bengt Forsberg, Lynn Harrell, Angela Hewitt, Piers Lane, Christopher Maltman, Leon MacCawley, Charles Owen, Joan Rodgers, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and Ashley Wass. Jack has appeared at many major festivals including Bath, Cheltenham, Harrogate, Belfast, Aldeburgh Summer Proms, Kuhmo, Montpellier, Montreux, Reims, Spoleto and the Australian Festival of Chamber Music.

In 2009 Jack signed an exclusive contract with SONY Classical, for whom he has released the Dvorak Violin Concerto with Garry Walker and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Dvorak Sonata and Sonatina with Katya Apekisheva. Following this release, the Daily Telegraph and Evening Standard awarded it 'œCD of the Week' and the Telegraph declared: 'œthe young British violinist Jack Liebeck has in recent years been coming to the fore as a musician of exceptional gifts, blessed as he is with a glorious, mellifluous tone and interpretative insight. This is wondrous playing of the most compelling sort." It was this recording which secured him the 2010 Classical BRIT Award 'œYoung British Performer of the Year'. His latest disc of the complete Brahms Sonatas, again with Katya Apekisheva, was released in 2010 to huge critical acclaim.

Recent performances include the Sibelius Concerto, Chausson"s Poème and Saint-Saens" Introduction and rondo capriccioso with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, acclaimed solo recitals in London (Wigmore Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall), Copenhagen and Tilburg; two chamber concerts with Brett Dean at the Wigmore Hall; Vaughan Williams" The Lark Ascending with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in Liverpool and at the Royal Albert Hall for Classic FM Live; the Korngold Concerto with the Ulster Orchestra; Mendelssohn with the Royal Philharmonic and English Chamber orchestras; the Magnus Lindberg concerto with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and Oslo Philharmonic, and Berg"s Chamber Concerto with the Manchester Camerata for the BBC.

Forthcoming highlights include the Dvorak Concerto with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra; the Bruch Concerto with the London Philharmonic Orchestra; Roberto Gerhard"s Concerto with the Real Filharmonia de Galicia and Brett Dean"s The Lost Art of Letter Writing with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as recitals at the Wigmore Hall and across the UK. Jack is featured as soloist on the soundtrack of Jane Eyre, written by Oscar winning composer Dario Marianelli '“ due for release in September 2011 on Sony Classical.

Jack has recently been appointed Professor of Violin at the Royal Academy of Music and is Artistic Director of Oxford May Music Festival, a festival of music, science and the arts founded in 2008. [www.oxfordmaymusic.co.uk]

Jack plays the "Ex-Wilhelmj" J.B. Guadagnini dated 1785.

Katya Apekisheva is one of Europe's foremost pianists, in demand internationally as a soloist and chamber musician, and has been described by Gramophone as 'a profoundly gifted artist' who has 'already achieved artistic greatness'. A prize-winner at the Leeds Piano Competition and Scottish Piano Competition, she has appeared as soloist with many of the world's leading orchestras and has collaborated with such conductors as  Simon Rattle, David Shallon and Alexander Lazarev.

Her solo CD release of Grieg solo piano works this year has received over-whelming critical acclaim. It was also chosen by Classic FM as CD of the week and selected by Gramophone Magazine as Editor's Choice. It received a Rising Star award in International Piano Magazine and was Critic's choice for the year 2008 in Gramophone Magazine.

Equally at home as a chamber musician, Katya collaborates with Janine Jansen, Natalie Clein, Maxim Rysanov, Jack Liebeck, Boris Brovtsyn, Alexei Ogrinchouk and Nicholas Daniel among others. In this capacity she is a regular guest at major chamber music festivals around the world.

Born in Moscow into a family of musicians, she studied at the Gnessin music school for exceptionally gifted children under Ada Traub and Anna Kantor (the teacher of Evgeny Kissin). At the age of 12 she performed a Mozart Concerto with Gnessin School Orchestra which was broadcast by Moscow Classical Radio.

In 1992 Katya continued her studies at the Rubin Music Academy in Jerusalem with Irina Berkovich. There Katya won an America-Israel Scholarship and was awarded second prize at the Young Talents Radio Competition. In 1994 Katya moved to London to study at the Royal College of Music with Irina Zaritskaya and in 1995 she was awarded President's Rose Bowl which was presented to her by HRH Prince of Wales.

In 1996, in addition to her successes in the Leeds and Scottish competitions, Katya won London Philharmonic Orchestra Soloist of the year and also the prestigious Terence Judd Award.

Katya has also collaborated on several recordings with the violinist Jack Liebeck, including a Classical Brit-nominated CD.

Recent highlights include performances at Utrecht, Leicester, Ancona, Homecoming Festivals , tour of USA with Nicola Benedetti and appearances at Berlin Spectrum Series. She also made recordings for BBC radio 3 and German radio. Her most recent performances include concertos with Santiago Philarmonic Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra , Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and collaboration with Jan Latham-Koenig, Paul Watkins, Jason Lai and Emmanuel Siffert.

This season highlights include concerto tour of South Africa, CD release with Jack Liebeck on Sony Label and Wigmore Hall Recital.

 

Reviews

"...Her power and temperament remind me of Martha Argerich..." - Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Moscow

"...Astute colours and brilliant technique..." - The Times

"...This was a performance of considerable insight and brilliance; an account that was beyond criticism. Katya Apekisheva is a very fine artist indeed whose future career should be closely followed..." - Robert Matthew-Walker, Musical Opinion

"... Beethoven Concerto to intrigue and impress...It was an auspicious evening..." - Manchester Evening News, performance with Halle Orchestra

"...Most outstanding...superbly controlled technique and commanding musicality throughout... astonishing..." - Yorkshire Post at the Leeds Piano Competition