A dazzling display of youthful pianistic virtuosity delighted the audience at Shrewsbury School's Allington Hall. Galin Ganchev, a fifteen-year-old student at the School, gave a lengthy, musically wide-ranging recital which started with Baroque music and ended in the early twentieth century with Debussy. His programme included works by Mozart, Chopin and Liszt.
The opening of the programme illustrated Galin's maturity and idiomatic grasp of the music. The Sarabanda of the Suite in G minor by Zipoli was sublimely lyrical while the Giga danced skittishly. Two preludes and fugues from J S Bach's 'Well-Tempered Clavier' followed, wonderful examples of Galin's poise, control and insight. These were well-chosen; Bach's famous musical architecture was nicely balanced with the warmth and humanity of his music.
The large scale, virtuoso pieces by Liszt and Chopin received thrilling performances; Galin's sure touch was equally evident in moments of bravura playing and in the passages of sensitive lyrical beauty.
Perhaps the most impressive playing came in Mozart's Piano Sonata in C major, K330. The opening movement was a little rushed, not giving the music a chance to breath, but the second, an inspired Andante Cantabile, showed the pianist at his finest. Tempo, dynamics and a beautiful singing tone brought out the almost operatic nature of this glorious music.
Two small-scale works by Debussy were given readings of crystal clarity. 'Voiles', meaning sails or veils, provokes a feeling of its inspirational images. The well-known 'La Cathedrale engloutie' is a masterpiece which received a performance worthy of a mature concert pianist.
Galin Ganchev is a superb musician; he surely has a distinguished career ahead of him.
Andrew Petch, 21st April 2013