Sunday, February 24, 2013

Jayson Gillham

One of the pleasures of being a critic is that you sometimes spot a tremendous talent before it becomes known to the public at large: in my sixty years writing about artists I was able to come across some young muzos that I recognised as being star quality. I was able to appreciate when he was only seventeen the conductor Simon Rattle, and the guitarist Julian Bream when he was in his mid-teens. And now I am happy to salute the young Australian pianist Jayson Gillham. I am not alone in saluting his talent: he has a following already, he has success with orchestras in various countries and has won important prizes such as the Gold Medal of the Royal Overseas League. At the 2012 Leeds Piano competition he was a semi-finalist and won warm praise from Sir Mark Elder; likewise in the Warsaw Competition he won praise from the great Marta Argarich.

Recently, I heard Jayson again at one of the Bob Boas Concerts in Mansfield Street when he played a recital programme of Bach, Beethoven, Schumann, Debussy and two Liszt transcriptions. Each composer was done justice and the performances could not have been bettered. Gillham has virtuosity to spare but uses his technique as a springboard to making deeply satisfying and freshness of Bach (the G major Toccata), the wit and strength of Beethoven (opus 78, the ardent passion of Schumann (the Etudes symphoniques), the voluptuous poetry of Debussy (3Etudes) and the passion of Wagner (the Liebestod and the coruscating wit of the Rigoletto Paraphrase). It was a recital to cherish and remember. Jayson Gillham will surely have a big and important career.

1 comment:

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