Shrewsbury School

A Piano Recital with Galin Ganchev

Friday 11 May 2018

Galin Ganchev, Shrewsbury’s all conquering hero of the piano keyboard, last week made an eagerly awaited return with all the assured and attentive artistry we have come to expect, and more.

In the intimate surroundings of the Maidment, his programme that compelled its audience to admire the fine details in architectural wonders of the virtuosic piano world. Opening with Bach Toccata in C minor, he put down a marker, amid all the brilliance of this piece’s improvisational nature, with declarative intent; the fugal finale in particular was pursued with studious care and affect.

Schubert’s sonata in the same key revealed a scale and tone in a sound world that at first seemed subdued but nevertheless completely enthralled, with its thoughtful shaping sensitive to Schubert’s original dynamic range, and the achievement of subtle forte piano effects Galin caressed into life from within the hulk of the big beast Steinway D. Its concluding tarantella sparkled with that characteristically Ganchev gossamer touch and impressive, cantering energy.  

The second half immediately opened the throttle with a selection of Debussy’s fiendishly technical Etudes, whose spiky charms are voiced through finely honed attack and dexterous pedal – and were despatched with accomplishment and aristocratic disdain. Whimsical, songful yet tightly controlled, the Chopin Nocturnes Nos 1 and 2, op. 62 introduced the final section. They offered time-out before the impassioned finale, the E major Scherzo, lifted the roof. As an encore, Etincelles -" Sparks" - by Moszkowski smoked and fizzed with delightful panache in the after-burn of a tremendous evening. Bravo!

James Fraser-Andrews

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