The Great Barn, Much Marcle, Herefordshire
“Patrick is unusual.
He seemed in his characterful and exhilarating playing, to wilfully exist on the creative fringes of the only just possible and to set up a musical momentum that shared his experience of timeless, irresistible passion with his mesmerised, appreciative audience.”
St Mary’s Perivale.
Such was the superb stylistic and commanding performance of the Chopin Studies today I would have sworn it was Guiomar Novaes, Nikita Magaloff or Nelson Friere instead of a certain Monsieur Hemmerlé ! …
Completely bowled over by the beauty and totally absorbing musicality I was not even aware of the transcendental difficulty of these revolutionary pieces for piano.
Tuning in today rather sceptically I must say I listened to the first study and although not the relentless passion of Richter all the hurdles, and there are many, were very well managed. In fact it was in the second that I stopped counting the notes or at least forgot to because I was so involved in the music making that was opening up new horizons and perspectives. The beautifully shaped left hand with the shimmering chromatic scales just adding a sheen to the proceedings. The crystal clear cantabile of the third study “How dear is my heart!” But also the beautifully singing top notes of the middle section that most amateurs are forced to leave out and that many professionals turn into a battleground!
The fourth study had more to do with Rubinstein than with Richter’s impossibly fast video recording. Resolving all the technical challenges whilst shaping the music. The ending was every bit as exciting as Rubinstein’s inimitable performances. A slight pause before the final chord showed us the master we had in the driving seat today.
The playful “Black Key” study that Myra Hess used to play as an encore with an orange and two carrots. Child’s play you might say, but today I was reminded of the aristocratic Jesus Perla of Magaloff in the way he highlighted very subtly certain harmonic comments from all directions.
I found the slow number six rather unstable rhythmically and feel it could be played more simply. But he had such a persuasive cantabile that I almost forgave him! The feather light alternate chords of the seventh could almost be called the butterfly study (like op.25 n.9) when played like this. The shimmering cascading notes of the eighth beautifully phrased and ending somewhere between Horowitz’s charm and Novaes’s creamy rich legato. A beautiful echo effect in the 9th that Rubinstein played with that aristocratic simplicity that was sometimes missing here. A rather cheeky appogiatura at the end brought a smile of admiration for an artist who was really living the music so fearlessly.
The tenth seemed at first rather slower than we are used to hearing. But it was so pregnant with meaning full of magical moments not least the change of colour on the modulation and the held bass note on which floats the final few bars was quite enchanting. The “Arpeggio “ study was a kaleidoscope of colours. A bass note added as Friere would often do too gave such a sumptuous sense of colour to a seemingly timeless study. A wonderful hesitation at the beginning of the “Revolutionary” study again showed just what personality this young man already has. No fear of following the rules in his total understanding of the musical values of these remarkable pieces.
I have dwelt more on the first set of Studies which I have always thought of as less poetic than the second set. Today Patrick has convinced me that they are just as poetic in the hands of a true poet!
Of course op 25 could only highlight all the wonderful things that this true musician could revel in today. The beautiful bell like cantabile of the first study “Aeolian Harp” of which there is a detailed description by Sir Charles Halle of Chopin playing it in England. Wonderful counter melodies in the bass that only added to the sumptuous sounds of Patrick’s magic harp.
Beautiful repeated notes at the end of the second led so well to the jogging of the third with all its various inflections.. Staccato and legato living so well in the fourth dissolving together happily ever after at the end. The fifth slipped in almost unnoticed. The beautiful middle section played with the subtle inflections that Chopin actually writes into the notes. A final rising crescendo on which emerges the “will o’ the wisp” double thirds that shimmer above the left hand melodic line. Strange that he plays the downward double third scale with two hands I have never noticed that before. Unusual fingering at the beginning of the slow seventh study. A telling rest in the left hand melody somehow took me by surprise. A wonderful surprise for the legato afterwards was even more telling. A melodic line almost too flexible but by God I would not have changed a note today. It was just so convincing and heartrending.
The silky legato of the eighth with very slight hesitations to such glorious effect.
A “Butterfly” every bit as featherweight as its partner op 10 n. 7 disappearing like “Scarborough” into thin air at the end. The most thunderously legato octaves where the melodic line though was always to the fore. A marvellously expressive middle section where the re emergence of the main Theme was pure magic.
The final two studies were played with the aristocratic grandiosity of the great pianists of the past. The added bass notes at crucial moments took our breath away as he plunged straight into the final C minor study.
What can one say. I am tempted to use Schumann’s own words on the first appearance of Chopin in Paris: “ Hats off gentlemen a genius”.
Looking at his CV and listening to his extraordinary performance today I would not be surprised at all.
Keswick Music Society (Theatre by the Lake) 2017
Beethoven: Diabelli Variations. Chopin Etudes. Op. 10
“One cannot only be amazed at the technique of this young pianist, his stamina and his musical memory as he performed for over one and a half hours without music and without a stumble. Though, like all the audience I was in awe of his technical accomplishment, it was the moments of repose that stood out for me as Hemmerlé delicately controlled the piano creating a warmth of tone and beauty. The 24th Variation (Fughetta) in the Beethoven and the third “Etude” by Chopin were quite sublime and I didn’t want them to end.”
Scots Kirk, Paris
Bach : 48 Preludes and Fugues. Book 1.
“……I’ve never known anyone play the 48 as revealingly and fascinatingly…most of the people in the room were on the edge of their seats all evening… some very distinguished musicians were in the audience for his concert in my series and they were mightily impressed, notably the distinguished French pianist, Eric Heidsieck.”
Paul Snelgrove. organiser ‘Rue Bayard’ concert series
Senate House, Prague
Inaugural concert for the promotion of the work and legacy of Vieteslav Novak. Senate House, Prague.
“Absolutely brilliant, unearthly”
Cambridge Summer Music Festival, 2018
“Hemmerlé began the evening with Debussy’s Préludes whose exquisite imagism he beautifully transmitted throughout the entire recital…Versatility was never in question either from a spellbinding diminuendo in movement 10 ( Canope) to the virtuosic achievement of the finale, the fiendishly difficult Feu d’artifice…”.
Of the Chopin Preludes:
“… at times Hemmerlé was visibly transported. Who couldn’t be? The music had cast its spell and his transfixed audience was loud in its acclaim as it called for more. It is devoutly to be wished that Patrick will return to the festival.”
John Gilroy. Cambridge Independent.
“Last night’s piano recital by Patrick Hemmerlé was astonishing. Such a privilege to listen to such artistry”
David Hill. Director Cambridge Summer Music Festival.
Lake District Summer Music Festival, 2018
“Spellbinding”…”superb. A thrilling performer”…”Never heard the Chopin Preludes played with such delicacy, passion and understanding. Very moving”
Temple Saint-Marcel, Paris
“A magnificent Rudepoema by Patrick Hemmerlé. We eagerly look forward to the appearance of his album, devoted to Roger-Ducasse on Label Melism in 2019.”
“… an especially talented pianist with flair and style. A pianist to watch out for.”
Bertrand Boissard. (Diapason)
Recital for the Kings School, Ely, Concert Society
The Society has brought many fine musicians to Ely and Patrick Hemmerlé must be one of the finest. This phenomenal pianist received his training in France and his understanding and appreciation of French music is breath- taking. Many of the works were popular items that have been played at concerts many times but Patrick outshone any performances I have heard.”
Clare Hall, Cambridge
Schubert and Beethoven last three Sonatas.
“…I was only able to attend the first recital, which comprised the first three Beethoven Sonatas; and I can only say that if the Schubert evening was as technically and musically impressive, I must have missed a real and rare pianistic treat…The attentive audience in the packed hall was not disappointed. Mr. Hemmerlé’s technique is fully up to meeting the wide-ranging demands in terms of subtlety and variety of mood of op. 109, 110 and 111. What is more important: his musicianship is such that the technique encompasses much more than getting the notes, tempi and dynamics right.”
James Day. Cambridge Evening News