At age 26, Benjamin Grosvenor is heralded as one of the most important pianists on the international concert hall circuit and made his debut at Teatro Mayor Julio Mario Santo Domingo on Thursday evening with works by Schumann, Janáček, Prokofiev and Liszt.
Recipient of the BBC Young Musician Competition at age eleven, Grosvenor is known for electric and heart-rendering performances, with Thursday’s concert no exception. The first-ever recital of Benjamin in Colombia was another highlight of the United Kingdom Guest Nation of Honor year at Teatro Mayor and that coincides with the 80th anniversary of British Council in Colombia.
Described by The Independent as a “poetically and subtly ironic” pianist, “brilliant at the same time clear, intelligent and humorous,” Grosvenor swept the audience with Robert Schumann’s Blümenstück – Opus 19 – followed by the capacious Kreisleriana, both fixtures of his essential Schumann repertoire.
Adding tumult to the keys, Grosvenor then interpreted the Piano Sonata 1.X. 1905 by Czech composer Leoš Janáček and a significant work which also had a tumultuous history. Originally consisting of three movements inspired by the death of a Czech laborer shot by soldiers during a demonstration in Brno, Janáček’s spellbinding sonata was wonderfully played and charged with boldness.
The recital continued with Opus 22 by Sergei Prokofiev, known as Visions Fugitives and written between 1915 and 1917 and which reveal the enormous ingenuity of the Russian composer’s piano writing. And to sum up an evening that pushed the limits of musical horizons, Grosvenor turned to Hungary’s Franz Liszt and the dramatic Réminiscence on Bellini’s opera Norma.