This was another category with an unexpected winner, making the viewing experience a whole more engaging that previous editions. Josie D’Arby is definitely in her presenting stride in this one. Former Young Musician competitor, pianist and pundit Lucy Parham is the best contributor in this series alone.
Adam Heron (pictured right) seemed a little stiff in his posture at the keyboard though I was transfixed by the isolated movement in his hands. The
Lauren Zhang (pictured middle) had a beguiling quality on stage I couldn’t quite put my finger on. The contrast between her away from the keyboard (where she seemed slightly bewildered by proceedings – who wouldn’t be), compared to her self-assurance at the piano made her a complex and fascinating study.
The Scarlatti she played was electrifying – amazing control at the keyboard. The Kapustin showed stunning technique though I wasn’t quite as drawn to her playing in this piece – more bombast than I want after the taut Scarlatti. The Rachmaninov Sonata No. 2 Op.36 was the most intriguing performance in her moment on stage. There were moments when I felt the louder sections of the movement – particularly in the right hand – risked derailing her musical statement. But, she held on conjuring up some dramatic dynamic contrasts
Elias Ackerley (pictured far left) didn’t quite nail the opening Scarlatti in the same way Lauren had. The performance hadn’t secured my attention. This continued in the Ravel where Elias’ playing was powerful but oddly private – as though he didn’t really give very much away. The choice of
Jennifer Kanneh-Mason (pictured second from left) left me breathless during the Rachmaninov. I adored her fluidity at the keyboard, her poise, and her flexibility. She displays a great sense of maturity that is compelling. In the
Mariam Loladze-Meredith‘s (pictured second from right) performance was by far the most self-assured of the evening. She exudes an incredible confidence when she’s playing that is both emphatic and potent. In all three works, I felt as though she was the one able to extrude all of the voices from each piece in a balanced way. This was amazing musicianship which I wondered went beyond BBC Young Musician.
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