Monday 10 August 2015

Poom Prommachart’s debut disc for Champs Hill reveals a pianist that has an unerring ability to draw in the listener

Poom Prommachart was born in Bangkok, Thailand and was granted a full scholarship which enabled him to continue his studies in London where he was the last student of the legendary pianist, Yonty Solomon. He graduated from the Royal College of Music, London where he earned a Master’s Degree in Performance (Distinction) in 2013 and the prestigious International Artist Diploma in 2014. Recently, he was awarded the most prestigious Tagore Gold Medal for his great contribution to RCM. He also received his Bachelor of Music (Honours) with the Hopkinson Gold Medal and the Sarah Mundlak Memorial Prize for Piano from the RCM.  Other important awards at RCM have included the John Chisell Schumann Award (2009) and 1st prize in RCM Concerto Competition where he performed Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No.2 in G minor, op.16 with RCM Symphony Orchestra conducted by Phillip Ellis.

Prommachart has won 1st prize at the Fifth International Isidor Bajic Piano Competition in Serbia with a special prize for a Brahms’ Piano Quintet performance in the semi-final round, as well as the audience prize. Other prizes have included 1st prize and audience prize at the UK Intercollegiate Sheepdrove Piano Competition (2009), 1st prize at Eastbourne Symphony Orchestra Soloist Competition (2008), 2nd prize and a special prize for the best performance of Liszt at the International Chopin Piano Competition in Budapest (2008), 1st prize of Thailand International Piano Competition (2011) and 1st Prize in the Grand Final of Sussex International Piano Competition (2013).

He has continued his studies at the École Normale de Musique de Paris Alfred Cortot with Ramzi Yassa and has also been working privately with a celebrated German pianist, Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy in Munich, Germany.

He has performed in many world-famous concert halls throughout Europe, Asia and Australia and also worked with many leading Orchestras. His repertoire already includes over thirty concertos.

Poom Prommachart has recently recorded a debut solo CD for Champs Hill Records  featuring the works of Liszt, Scriabin, Medtner and Kreisler.

Poom Prommachart delves deeply into Franz Liszt’s (1811-1886) Variations on a Theme of Bach bringing some very fine moments as he slowly develops the music with finely controlled dynamics. There are some really virtuosic, stormy Lisztian passages as the piece progresses where this pianist shows not only his terrific technique but also his very fine touch and clarity. He reveals all the musical lines wonderfully, however dense the harmonies, and much poetry as well. An impressive performance.

Prommachart reveals his ability to immediately create a strong atmosphere here in Alexander Scriabin’s (1872-1915) Sonata No. 9, Op. 68 with a feeling of intense brooding, revealing some wonderfully poetic moments as he carefully builds and develops this sonata. I was particularly impressed at how he unfolds the individual musical lines of each hand with such very fine clarity. At times he brings beautifully limpid phrases, lovely light rhythmic phrases, quite superb before a dynamic build up before the hushed coda.

This pianist reveals how well planned this recital is by how perfectly the Theme - The Song of the Water-nymph of Nicolas Medtner’s (1880-1951) Improvisation No.2, Op.47 leads from the coda of the Scriabin. Prommachart brings fine phrasing and a sense of calm nostalgic flow.  His clarity of line is superb. With Meditation this pianist reveals, surprisingly, points of reference with Scriabin before bringing a lovely light touch to Caprice with such a stylish coda.

He conjures up the fleeting nature of Winged Dancers with lightly sprung, beautifully phrased playing before bringing a rather improvisatory quality to Enchantment with a beautifully light and fluent  coda. Despite its playful nature, his Humoresque wears a serious mask. The rapid, rippling phrases of Mid the Waves are very finely achieved with Prommachart bringing an exquisite touch.

Tumult of the Crowd is beautifully built with fine clear lines leading to a terrific climax, before a wonderfully hushed In the Forest, Prommachart again creating a fine atmosphere. After the fast and fleeting The Sylvan, The Elves hurtles delicately forward with light touch and pin point clarity.

The rippling, rhythmic phrases of The Gnomes are finely done before Conjuration arrives; a lovely piece that builds in drama, Prommachart bringing many rhythmically sprung passages and moments of fine drama with rich harmonies. The Threat continues to bring a darker hue with this pianist finely controlling the dynamics and phrasing, structuring the piece so well. Song of the Water-nymph is leisurely and quiet with some lovely little phrases whereas The Storm has some wonderfully florid, free and rippling passages set off finely by this pianist before the Conclusion that builds to the coda.

Fritz Kreisler’s (1875-1962) Liebesfreud, in its arrangement by Rachmaninov, proves to be a terrific conclusion to this disc, Prommachart’s phrasing and shaping revealing every detail with a fine rubato and control of little tempi changes as well as moments of great fun.

This debut disc for Champs Hill reveals a pianist that has an unerring ability to draw in the listener with performances not just of mere virtuosity but with clarity of phrasing and an exquisite touch.

The recording is up to the usual high standards of Champs Hill Records productions made at their Champs Hill Music Room and there are useful and informative notes. 

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