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Romantic Virtuoso Pianists - Jayson Gillham and Cyprien Katsaris


















I couple these two reviews for special reasons.

I believe both are great pianists of different generations.

Cyprien Katsaris has been scandalously sidelined in England; agents and promoters seem much more interested in the young upcoming artists... My picture top right is from when I met Cyprien briefly early morning, in transit through London to his last appearance in the British Isles * - actually to Ireland. Do click on that link.

I have long been collecting Cyprien Katsaris CDs and DVDs from own label "Piano 21", and this latest is of transcriptions, most of them of music by Russian composers [Piano Rarities Vol 3, Transcriptions:P21 045-N], highly recommended.

Stunning accounts of Sabre Dance etc, and if you want Rachmaninov's Suite for Two Pianos no 2, Op 17 transcribed for one piano - well, here it is ! But both pianists show the other side of virtuosity in subtle voicing of quiet, simpler music too.

I had missed Jayson Gillham, a young Australian born pianist who completed his training in London, over the years until a very special recital at St Martin in the Fields recently which showed that he has reached considerable musical maturity. At his RAM graduation the panel wrote - - perhaps the finest final recital we can remember at still a young age in a professional career - -

Jayson's latest CD [No number; private recording by Classical Recording Co., London NW5 2DX] tends to be favoured by Musical Pointers because it steers away from "standard" repertoire; original works and transcriptions by Liszt and Percy Grainger (some of which he featured at St Martin's).

It was recorded earlier this year at St John's Smith Square by Simon Weir and Morgan Roberts, who had done him proud in 2010 with Beethoven, a wonderful Op 101 sonata, Chopin & the 2nd book of Debussy Études, and which has the benefit of thoughtful notes by the pianist himself. Presentation is again immaculate in the 2012 disc with perceptive notes by Leslie Howard and Barry Ould.

The earliest disc (from Australia) has sterling accounts of Études by Brahms & Chopin, but the recording is not quite up to the highest standard; however, Gillham will soon have admirers who will want to collect them all.

I don't find the CD reviews he deserves (e.g. in Gramophone), presumably because he is not yet contracted to a regular label, but see this perceptive live concert report from the Brighton Festival.

Now I find that Jayson was a finalist at Leeds! My illustration above is of him enjoying playing the Emperor Concerto there.

Peter Grahame Woolf

5 December 2012
Jayson Gillham is playing at the Royal Overseas League tonight in central London,
I chanced to discover yesterday. I'll be there.





* PS !!

Katsaris was recently taken ill in Berlin but has made a gratifying recovery,
so his recordings agent confirms: