EIF 2016: Danil Trifonov in Recital, Usher Hall, Review

Rating (out of 5)
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Edinburgh International Festival
Edinburgh International Festival
Danil Trifonov piano
Running time

All three compositions the Russian pianist Danil Trifonov chose for the performance are rarely performed, probably because they are extraordinarily difficult to play and require great pianistic prowess.

When Trifonov entered the stage, he sat for a few moments to compose himself then began playing Brahms arrangement of the Chaconne from J S Bach’s famous Violin Partita in D minor. Brahms wrote it solely for the left hand and if one closed one’s eyes it was impossible to imagine only one hand was being used as his fingers weaved up and down the keyboard. It was a masterful rendition of this complicated piece.

The next choice on the programme was Liszt’s Grandes etudes de Paganini. Paganini was the most celebrated virtuoso violinist of the nineteenth century and Liszt was inspired to write these works after hearing him play at a recital.

Liszt has a reputation of being one of the most difficult composers to play. His runs of octaves are notoriously challenging for a pianist and Trifonov’s accomplished the complicated sections with aplomb. And we were also afforded the opportunity of hearing Trifonov’s talent at varying the tones in the pieces – his lightness of touch in the Vivo movement was breathtaking.

The recital concluded with Rachmaninov’s Piano Sonata No 1 in D minor. A distinctive Rachmaninov composition with his expansive chords and complicated runs. It is technically a very difficult piece to play and Trifonov again displayed his skill at creating superb variations of tone.

His technique and interpretation of the composition was outstanding and he is understandingly one of the best pianists in the world.

Danil Trifonov in Recital was on 17 August