Posts Tagged ‘Warren Mailley-Smith’

Review of the Valentine’s Concert in Ely Cathedral on the 11th February 2017

February 12, 2017

The Valentine’s Concert in Ely Cathedral on February 11th was the eighth annual visit by Warren  Mailley-Smith and co musicians and it was one of the finest.

Warren Mailley-Smith (piano), Pavlos Carvalho (cello), Lucy Jeal  (violin) and

(soprano) gave us a splendid evening of romantic music that not only stirred the heart strings but amazed us with their technique and ability to bring out the musical qualities of the pieces they chose. The   compositions were by no means easy and the way in which the three instrumentalists demonstrated  such clarity and virtuosic skill was phenomenal. No matter how difficult the passage, these three excellent musicians synchronized perfectly. Susan Parkes (soprano) added to the wonderfully romantic spirit of the evening with her collection of songs at the end of the programme.

In Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight’ Sonata, Warren played with accomplished fluency that comes with experience and insight, bringing out sonorous key melodies exquisitely and adding new qualities to this very famous piece.

The highlight of the evening for me, Rachmaninov’s ‘Sonata for Cello in G minor’, played by Warren and Pavlos, was magnificent. While demonstrating amazing technique and empathy for the music, these fine performers maintained Rachmaninov’s romantic melancholy and nostalgia well while reminding us of their tremendous agility and expressive capability in the more joyous passages.

Elgar’s ‘Salut d’amour’ was a must for the programme and Lucy played it beautifully on her violin.

Mendelssohn’s ‘Piano Trio in D minor’ was positively charming while Susan’s songs left us in no doubt that this was indeed a celebratory concert. The songs included Puccini’s ‘O mio babbino’, ‘Morgen’ by Strauss, ‘Je veux vivre’ by Gounod and ‘Habañera’ by Bizet. In the moments when her beautiful voice was focused, the sound was exhilarating.

What a delightful evening!


Review of Warren Mailley-Smith’s Valentine Concert (Piano) in Ely Cathedral on 11th February 2012.

February 12, 2012

In spite of the freezing weather outside, Warren Mailley-Smith’s Valentine Concert mesmerized the audience with much warmth, vigour and excitement. Warm lyrical melodies, brilliant showmanship and treasured moments of heart- stopping reflection pervaded the excellent programme he chose to mark this romantic period of the year.

There is no doubt that Warren is one of the finest pianists in the country and his unique technique, astute musical awareness and phenomenal expressive touch combined to provide a wonderful night’s entertainment.

The programme included a host of romantic favourites including composers Beethoven, Debussy, Liszt, Grief, Prokofiev, Horowitz, Chopin and Gershwin.

The crashing chords of the opening movement of Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata contrasted expertly the suddenly soft responses. In the first and last movements, rapid scales and flowing arpeggios were fused into expressive, meaningful phrases that integrated perfectly into Beethoven’s unique sense of the dramatic. In Warren’s hands, the simplicity and charm of the second movement was enhanced with his impressive ability to bring out the varied moods and characters of the harmonic changes while the leading familiar melody never lost any of its strength and appeal.

Debussy’s ‘Clair de Lune’ was played with such skilled fluency that one could easily imagine the moonlight’s reflective play. Rippling runs and sweeping open chords contrasted well with the subtle quiet moments that caught the breath as though suspended for one precious moment in time immemorial.

Warren is a born virtuoso. His technical superiority and his innate empathy with the nature of the virtuosic pianists of previous times made the works by Liszt, Chopin and Gershwin ideal for him and for the audience. Liszt’s ‘Un Sospiro’ (‘The Sigh’) exuded romanticism with its strong, lyrical themes. His Hungarian Rhapsody No 2 was gorgeously gutsy with whirling gymnastics and cheeky interpolations.

After interval Grieg’s ‘Wedding Day at Troldhaugen’ provided moments of joyful respite and tenderness. Then we were taken into the dark world of Russian intensity with a powerful driving bass and moments of soft sudden lightness infused with a sense of foreboding.

A foray into the world of opera followed with Liszt’s ‘Rigoletto Paraphrase’ and Bizet-Horowitzs’ ‘Carmen Fantasy’.  In these the voices and characters of the participants were clearly defined by Warren’s phenomenal three dimensional effects.

One of the most effective performances of the evening was undoubtedly ‘Fantasy Imrpompty Op 66’ by Chopin. Warren met the challenging technical demands with ease while at the same time he brought out every romantic nuance with meaningful pauses and gentleness in the strong heart-tugging themes.

Chopin’s ‘Polonaise in A flat Op 53’ was manfully entertaining and as the strong chords filled the cathedral vaults we were reminded that we were made aware of a pianist and composer of considerable stature.

The evening ended appropriately with the amazing ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ by Gershwin. Warren played an arrangement specifically for piano by Gershwin. Warren was at ease with the complicated syncopated rhythms, the virtuosic interplay and the playful episodes that were soon engulfed in what Warren and Gershwin possessed – a phenomenal sense of joyful abandonment and the thrill of captivating an audience with a display of unbridled showmanship worthy of the highest praise.

Rosemary Westwell  

Valentine’s Day Concert held in Ely Cathedral on 14th February 2011.

February 18, 2011

A glass of champagne, flickering candlelight and dazzling talented musicians playing music that evoked the essence of romance — what more could one want? The Valentine’s Day Concert held in the octagon in Ely Cathedral on 14th February was a sheer delight. Nicola Loud (violin) wowed the listeners with her amazing technique, coaxing the instrument to reach great heights of emotional intensity or amazing the audience with feats of rare vitality, dexterity and agility.

Warren Mailley-Smith (piano) was with her at every turn. His perfection in synchronizing with the violinist to evoke exactly the same expression or breakneck virtuosity was phenomenal.

His performance of Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata’ after interval captured exactly Beethoven’s moods expressed in his strong melodies, dramatic contrasts and excitable outbursts.

The evening opened triumphantly with a show piece that had us sitting up and taking notice. From the moment the first strands of Sarasate’s ‘Zigeunerweisen’ were played we knew that this evening was not simply a performance of ‘nice’, romantic music: this was an evening of gutsy, passion supported by phenomenal technique.

Few aspects of love were omitted. The programme offered passionate earthy gypsy-inspired energy in ‘Zigeunerweisen’, and Monit’s ‘Czardas’, simple beauty in Gluck’s ‘Melodie’ from ‘Orfeo and Euridice’, the cozy warmth of familiar favourites by Kreisler, the moving ‘Meditation’ by Massenet, and the final piece, Franck’s formidable ‘Sonata for violin and piano in A’ (a wedding gift for a virtuosic violinist of the day), offered sophisticated expressions of exhilaration, contemplation, and ardor.

This was an unforgettable evening and the sight of a young man waiting for someone while clutching a large bouquet of flowers and wearing a huge grin endorsed the feelings of warmth and inspiration the evening evoked.

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review Warren Mailley-Smith piano recital

February 16, 2010

A debonair pianist, candle light and champagne: what more could one ask? The Valentine’s Champagne Concert given by Warren Mailley-Smith in Ely Cathedral lived up to its expectations. With astounding dexterity, this sensational pianist wowed the audience with music that pulled at the heart strings. As candles flickered around him in the octagon, he performed astounding feats on the grand piano that kept the listeners spellbound.  

It was as if we were drawn back into the heady days of the popular pianists of a yester-year. The programme included pieces that displayed Warren’s phenomenal technique and his natural empathy with the greatest showmen of the Romantic era. It was as if Rachmaninov or Liszt had returned to the stage.

The opening Appassionata Sonata Op 57 in F minor was splendid. Beethoven’s impassioned outbreaks, his extreme contrasts and the flow of rolling broken chords never lost the thread of the deep-seated emotional of his style. Warren’s sensitivity and strength created amazing multi-dimensional fabrics. The main melodic themes were clearly and potently held, while underlying harmonies, pedal notes and trills were integrated seamlessly.  In the Presto, Warren played at break-neck speed with utter clarity and accuracy.

As expected, a favoured composer was Chopin, one of the most romantic composers of all. Reminiscences of Chopin’s piano concert no 1, in his Souvenirs de Paganini and his Ballade No 1, Op 23 in G minor were played to perfection, the cross rhythms, the highly demanding virtuosic flourishes and the heart rending sonorous melodies were beautifully expressed.

No evening of romantic music would be complete without Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata Op 27 in C sharp minor. Warren’s performance was spellbinding. His exact touch gave every note its correct weight. Warren’s fingers shaped the phrases beautifully and in the third movement, the Presto agitato, his fingers flew over the keys, with not a note missing and not a nuance forsaken.

In Liestraume no 3 by Liszt Warren made the unforgettable melodies sing, while accompanying material weaved seamlessly through the work, virtuosic flourishes and embellishments melting into the fabric.

Warren’s potent touch brought out every essence of the pain, power and anguish inthe haunting themes of Rachmaninov’s Prelude in G minor Op 23 no 1.

It was fortuitous that Warren’s own wedding anniversary fell on the day after the concert. His performance of Grieg’s Wedding Day at Troldhaugen was a fitting and attractive late addition to the programme.

The concert was brought to a close with a glittering performance of Gershwin’s piano arrangement of Rhapsody in Blue.  With real showmanship, Warren entered into the spirit of the work with amazing technique and understanding. Jazzy rhythms and cheeky interpolations, exquisitely delicate episodes were well contrasted with moments of overwhelming flamboyance.

Warren’s encore , a delightful arrangement of Spanish origin, added to the variety of this wonderful evening.

One of his next performances includes homage to Chopin when his birthday on 1st March will be celebrated in a concert at high Wickham.