Brilliant classical piano recital

Aylesbury Lunchtime Music – Valentin Shiedermair

On Thursday, 14th July, the lunchtime concert at St Mary’s Church was given by Valentin Shiedermair – a distinguished German pianist living in London.

Shiedermair has, amongst other things, given sold-out concerts at the Berlin Philharmonic Hall and toured to great

acclaim in China, Taiwan and Singapore.

The recital started with the E major prelude and fugue from Book one of Bach’s “48”. Shiedermair’s sound was in perfect keeping with the sweet, pastoral nature of the piece and

its character.

The second work was a Beethoven sonata – an early one, op 2 no 2. It was composed just

after Beethoven had moved to Vienna and, by the age of 25, established himself as a –

perhaps the - piano virtuoso in the capital. The sonata shows not only how well Beethoven

had learned about counterpoint from Haydn and Albrechstberger, but also how he was to

move away from older patterns by finding his own voice in composition. Shiedermair used

the instrument to exemplify dynamic contrasts, bring out the beauty of melodic lines,

demonstrate humour and play virtuoso passages brilliantly.

The concert then moved to Chopin’s fourth and final ballade. In just a single movement, the

work explores a huge range of ideas, justifying its reputation as one of the most difficult

masterpieces of 19th century piano music. For Shiedermair neither technical nor musical

difficulties gave him challenge – his performance brought out the emotions Chopin had

wished to reveal and his sound throughout was wonderfully expressive and controlled.

The concert finished with Rachmaninov’s Prelude in B flat Major – Op 23 no 2. The

performer needs enormous left hand endurance, complete mastery of the keyboard and

understanding of the composer’s sense of overcoming obstacles to achieve great things.

Shiedermair was more than up to the task.

It is remarkable that musical performances of the highest order are regularly available in

Aylesbury. Bargains too – at £7 per ticket (under 18s free) payable at the door at St Mary’s

Church in the centre of Aylesbury. There are two more performances this season – and a

new season begins in September.

John Alexander