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Jayson Gillham
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The Australian - "Reviewed: Meklit; Preservation Hall; Gillham; Rose; Coles; Districts"

Written by Jayson, Saturday 26th August 2017

 ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE

Jayson Gillham and MSO: Medtner/Rachmaninoff piano concertos

4 stars – Vincent Plush, The Australian

Australian pianist Geoffrey Tozer was the first to record all the piano music of Nikolai Medtner (1880-1951). This new recording was made originally for a television documentary about Tozer and has been fleshed out. A drop-the-needle test would suggest this is a long-lost concerto by Rachmaninoff. There is the same sweep, characteristic orchestration, piano writing that tosses between sparkling and thumping. What sets them apart is the hint of another Russian composer: Scriabin. This album would have been more interesting had it coupled Medtner with, say, Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy for piano and orchestra. Instead, we have the umpteenth version of Rachmaninoff’s second piano concerto, a performance that is routine and dutiful. The first of Medtner’s three concertos, his Opus 33, suggests music that may have moved beyond Scriabin’s exhilarating orchestration and harmonic exoticism. Australian pianist Jayson Gillham and conductor Benjamin Northey give it a vigorous, muscular performance, with some gorgeous solo wind passages sadly unattributed. Gillham provides two short solos, one of Medtner’s Mood Picturesfrom his Opus 1 set and Rachmaninoff’s D major prelude from the Opus 23 set. The ghost of Chopin hovers over the music and Gillham’s agile playing, suggesting that here is a pianist who may yet assume the European mantle of Roger Woodward. Recording producer Virginia Read swathes the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in a clear bloom of sound, always a delight.”


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