I tend to overlook mid-morning concerts. By doing so I forget that such events being scheduled at more conducive times of day makes them better attended.
Jean-Paul Gasparian’s Royal Albert Hall Classical Coffee Morning was so well-attended in fact that I struggled to get a ticket at the box office. Had it not have been for a return, I wouldn’t have got in at all. Once the performance got going so the audience kept coming – standing room only at the back of the Elgar Room.
The all-important connection between audience and performance was evident soon after the beginning of Gasparian’s programme. The three movements of Debussy’s charming Estampes are a tough opener in a dry acoustic, but the second of the three – La soirée
The Mozart was taut throughout with dramatic dynamic shifts and deftly-executed ornamentation. There was clarity and intensity throughout. The third movement of what is a deliciously compact work was especially exhilarating.
Gasparian clearly felt most at ease during the Chopin works. The Polonaise-Fantasie op.61 is a demanding piece but this was where he thrived. For me, there’s more depth to the work that demands greater expression. Jean-Paul didn’t shy away from the challenge. Come the Ballades in the final minutes of the recital he displayed ease and relish.
Gasparian is a modest presence on stage,
Jean-Paul Gasparian appears at the Royal College of Music in the Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall on Sunday 10 June at 3.45pm in a programme including Chopin, Debussy