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Madazine : As The Critics Saw It

Madazine : As The Critics Saw It

By Scriptorius

Yesterday evening’s recital of piano music at the town hall was attended by two of our most prominent critics. Their views are given below:

A star is born! I was privileged to spend much of last evening listening to the first major performance in this country by Polish pianist Szymon Babrinski. Readers may be sure that he will give many more. It was enthralling to hear his interpretation of Beethoven’s eighth sonata, followed by Liszt’s sixth Hungarian rhapsody, with encores of Rachmaninov’s prelude opus twenty-three, number five and Chopin’s etude opus ten, number twelve, known far and wide as ‘The Revolutionary’. Not surprisingly, his rendition of the last item was particularly moving.

Every moment was a joy. Rarely have I heard any of these works presented to such effect. Mr Babrinski’s ritardando and rubato were particularly delightful. It is of course well known that these famous pieces usually get a rousing reception but frankly I was far too transported to notice how the rest of the audience reacted. So thunderous and overwhelming were the chords in the Liszt piece that I was put in mind of an avalanche. At times it seemed as though at least two virtuosi were in action.

It has been held by many that Sergei Rachmaninov was the greatest pianist in living memory. I suspect that same will be said of Mr Babrinski at some point in the future. My space here is too limited to do full justice to what I heard from this young man, so let me just say da capo, maestro. Your next appearance cannot come soon enough for my liking.

The Herald

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It would be difficult for me to overstate my disappointment at last night’s piano recital by Szymon Babrinski. To my mind it was the pianistic equivalent of listening to the squawking of Florence Foster Jenkins, once called the world’s worst opera singer.

I had been told that we were to hear superb interpretations of Beethoven’s eighth sonata and Liszt's sixth Hungarian rhapsody. In the event the attendees who sat through these pieces and came up for more also had to endure Rachmaninov’s fifth opus twenty-three prelude and Chopin’s revolutionary etude.

The whole experience was extremely painful. I have it on good authority that Mr Babrinski’s contemporaries at whatever conservatoire he attended were in the habit of referring to him as ‘Old Ten-Thumbs’. One can understand why. At times I was reminded of an episode of the Morecambe and Wise comedy show, when André Previn accused Eric Morecambe of playing all the wrong notes during his fumbling at a piano keyboard. Eric replied that he was in fact playing all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order.

I fail to understand how this alleged artist managed to get as far as appearing before a paying public. Perhaps he or someone on his behalf indulged in bribery, rather in the way boxing managers of old were, I understand, accustomed to paying opponents of their pugilists to fall and take the full count as soon as they received a punch that seemed convincing enough to satisfy the spectators. Whatever the background, I hope that I shall not be asked to sit through another spell such as the one I endured yesterday.

The Clarion

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29 May, 2019
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