This concert consists entirely of music written by the members of the Russian Royal Family or music dedicated to them. Rachmaninov, Narpavnik and Grechaninov all wrote songs on the words by Grand Duke Konstantin Romanov, himself a decent composer. Coronation marches, duets and solo piano pieces by Beethoven, Schubert and Tchaikovsky form another major part of this unique concert commemorating the 400th anniversary of the House of Romanovs.
Part of the Romanov Season at Pushkin House.
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Polonaise, Op. 89 *; Violin Sonata, Op. 30 no. 3 **
Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
Grande marche funèbre on the death of Aleksander I of Russia, Grande marche héroïque for the coronation of Nicholas I of Russia
Ivan Laskovsky (1799-1855)
Recueil de Danses***
Duke Constantine Frederick Peter of Oldenburg (1812-1881)
Polka (arr. A Henselt) †
Adolf Henselt (1814-1889)
Marche du Couronnement †
Anton Rubinstein (1829-1894)
Two Melodies, Op. 3 ††
Grand Duchess Alexandra Iosifovna of Russia (1830-1911)
Strelna (Romance pour le piano)
Eduard Napravnik (1839-1916)
Pervaya razluka, Op. 59 no. 4, Barcarole, Op. 59 no. 5 †††
Petr Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
Festival Coronation March (arr. Tchaikovsky)
Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich of Russia (1858-1915)
On uzh snilsya mne kogda-to, Gornimi tikho letela dusha nebesami (Maikov)
Sergey Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
Prayer (1916) †††
* dedicated to Empress Elisabeth Alekseyerna of Russia
** dedicated to Alexander I
*** dedicated to Empress Alexandra Feodorovna
† dedicated to Alexander II
†† dedicated to Grand Duchess Yelena Pavlovna
†† words by Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich of Russia
Winner of the 2018 BBC Music Magazine Instrumental Award, violinist Fenella Humphreys enjoys a busy career combining chamber music and solo work. Her playing has been described in the press as ‘amazing’ (The Scotsman) and ‘a wonder’ (IRR). She has broadcast for the BBC, Classic FM, and German, Canadian, Australian and Korean radio and TV. A champion of new and unknown music, a number of eminent British composers have written works for Fenella. During 2014/15 she premiered a set of 6 new solo violin works by leading British composers including Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Sally Beamish and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, with performances at Aldeburgh, and St. Magnus and Presteigne Festivals etc. She has been fortunate to record these works over 2 critically acclaimed CDs for Champs Hill Records, both discs chosen by BBC Music Magazine as Instrumental disc of the month (October 2015 and January 2017) with 5 Star reviews, and the second also picked as Editor’s Choice in Gramophone Magazine. Fenella’s first concerto recording, of Christopher Wright’s Violin Concerto for Dutton Epoch with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Martin Yates was released in 2012 to great critical acclaim, including selection as Orchestral CD of the Month in a 5 star review in the BBC Music Magazine. Described on BBC Radio 3’s Record Review as an ‘absolutely exquisite album’, and a Recommended Recording in the Strad Magazine, Fenella’s new CD, ‘So Many Stars’ with Nicola Eimer has just come out on Stone Records. Summer 2019 sees the release of Max Richter’s Four Seasons Recomposed on Rubicon Classics. Concertmaster of the Deutsche Kammerakademie, Fenella also enjoys guest leading and directing. As a chamber musician, she has collaborated with artists including Alexander Baillie, Adrian Brendel, Pekka Kuusisto, Nicholas Daniel, Sir John Tomlinson and Martin Lovett, and is regularly invited by Steven Isserlis to take part in Open Chamber Music at the International Musicians’ Seminar, Prussia Cove. Fenella can also be found playing Tango with the great Uruguayan bandoneonist, Hector Ulises Passarella. Her teachers have included Sidney Griller CBE, Itzhak Rashkovsky, Ida Bieler and David Takeno, studying at the Purcell School, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and the Robert-Schumann-Hochschule in Düsseldorf graduating with the highest attainable marks. Fenella plays a beautiful violin from the workshop of Peter Guarneri of Venice, kindly on loan from Jonathan Sparey.
Julia Portela Piñón was born in 1995 and started her music education at the Conservatorio Profesional de Música Xoán Montes of Lugo (Spain) with Diana Somkhieva as her singing teacher. In 2011, she moves to London to continue her studies at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama with Marilyn Rees. Three years later of experience as a young musician in the United Kingdom, she gains a place to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Kathleen Livingstone and Iain Ledingham. Julia has performed in numerous concerts in her native Spain as well as in the United Kingdom, and has taken part in several masterclasses, most recently with Alberto Zedda.She has been involved in many projects at the Royal Academy of Music, including the Bach Cantata concerts, the Royal Academy Opera’s production of Offenbach’s “Orphée aux enfers” and a concert of Mahler’s 2nd Symphony conducted by Semyon Bychkov at the Royal Festival Hall. She has also performed Mahler’s 3rd Symphony with the London Mahler Orchestra at the Southwark Cathedral in aid of Cancer Research UK.
Julia has been highly commended in the Marjorie Thomas Art of Song Prize and has also recently joined the prestigious Josephine Baker Trust’s programme. She has performed as a soloist in Haydn’s Missa Cellensis at the St Michael and All Angels Church of London; Bach’s Cantatas Nº 24, 44, 134 & 147 at the Duke’s Hall of the Royal Academy of Music; Mozart’s Requiem, Pergolesi’s Magnificat & Caldara’s Stabat Mater at the St Thomas’ Church of Lymington and Manuel de Falla’s The Three Cornered Hat at the West Road Concert Hall of Cambridge.
Pianist Daniel Grimwood is a performer of international renown, combining an exceptional talent, rare versatility and refinement, with an inquisitive personality. With a repertoire ranging from Elizabethan Virginal music to the works of living composers, he enjoys a solo and chamber career, which has taken him across the globe, performing on the most prestigious concert platforms, including the Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Purcell Room in London, Saffron Hall, Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, Symphony Hall Birmingham, the Sage Gateshead, the Three Choirs Festival, the Rachmaninoff and Gnessin Halls in Moscow, the Carnegie Hall in New York, as well as venues in Germany, Austria, Italy, The Netherlands, Slovenia, Estonia, Taiwan, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Lebanon and Oman.
His musical interest started as a 3-year-old playing next door’s piano, and from the age of 7 he was performing in front of audiences. His training continued with Graham Fitch at the Purcell School, where he also studied violin, viola and composition, giving him a broad appreciation of classical music, and later with Vladimir Ovchinnikov and Peter Feuchtwanger. Although primarily a pianist, he is frequently to be found performing on harpsichord, organ, viola or composing at his desk. Grimwood is a passionate exponent of the early piano, and has given a recital of Chopin’s Etudes on the composer’s own Pleyel piano.
As a solo recording artist his growing discography ranges from Scriabin on Somm Recordings to Algernon Ashton, a world premiere recording on Toccata Classics. His discs of Liszt and Chopin, performed on an 1851 Erard piano, received a unanimous chorus of praise from the press; the Liszt album was Daily Telegraph CD of the week and Editor’s Choice in Gramophone Magazine. He was the first artist to record on the Edition Peters Sounds label, the complete Fauré Nocturnes album was released to excellent reception in The Sunday Times, which was followed by a disc of solo piano works by Adolph von Henselt, described as “a blizzard of dazzling pianism” by the Observer. As editor Grimwood is currently preparing editions of Field and Henselt for Edition Peters. Daniel Grimwood regularly performs on live broadcasts on BBC Radio 3, and has been featured in BBC Four’s TV documentary series “Revolution and Romance”. His media work continues with performances and video masterclasses in the “Piano Masterworks” collection on Tido Music, a new iPad app launched in 2016.
Recently featured as ‘One to watch’ in International Piano magazine, Alexander Karpeyev is a Russian pianist resident in the UK, who has performed throughout the UK and Europe and toured in the USA, Canada and Russia as a concerto soloist, recitalist and chamber music collaborator. Karpeyev trained at the Moscow Conservatory with Vera Gornostayeva and Alexander Mndoyants and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama under Joan Havill. He is the winner of the Dudley International Piano Competition as well as the Norah Sande Award and the holder of a Silver Medal from the Worshipful Company of Musicians. In 2014 he completed a performance practice doctoral degree at the City University, based on the Edna Iles Medtner Collection at the British Library. Karpeyev, himself, is often asked to give masterclasses and also lectures on Medtner’s performing practice.
Karpeyev is passionate about communicating his ideas on Romantic 19th and early 20th-century piano repertoire, and in particular exploring the works of virtuoso pianist-composers. A Medtner specialist, he became deeply immersed in Medtner’s music and approach to music-making while working on his doctoral degree, and his contact with unique performing practice evidence informs his own playing. He devotes considerable time to promoting Russian music in London as the Music Curator of the Pushkin House Music Salon in Bloomsbury, where he appears both as a soloist and collaborator with guest artists. He also has a mission to devise and direct music festivals that imaginatively combine performance and scholarship. Building on the success of three recent Medtner festivals in London, Karpeyev aspires to mount a bigger annual Russian Music Festival in London. As well as performing and speaking about music, Karpeyev is actively engaged in recording projects. The first, entitled ‘Russian Émigré Composers’ (Claudio Records, 2018), commemorates the centenary of the Russian Revolution and, in particular, highlights some of the achievements of the pianist composers who emigrated to Europe and the USA at that time. The second is of Medtner Songs, Opp. 36-7, 45-6, recorded with the Russian soprano Sofia Fomina (2019), offering the first complete version of Opp. 36 and 46, with Russian texts by Pushkin, Tyutchev and Fet, and German texts by Goethe, Eichendorff and Chamisso. His latest project is a recording of ‘Composers at the Savile Club‘ (2019). The recording celebrates the 150th anniversary of the founding of the London club. Among those featured are Elgar, Parry, Stanford, Howells and Walton. In addition to works for solo piano, the recording includes trumpet fanfares by Savile Club recent and current members Sir Malcolm Arnold and Julian Anderson.