It was only natural that we award Aidan Mikdad's first album, The Scriabin Ravel Connection with a Qobuzissime. The album is nothing short of impressive from start to finish. At the young age of 21, the Dutch pianist already has an impressive number of accolades under his belt, having won numerous prizes (including the Royal Concertgebouw Young Talent Award), as well as receiving numerous grants from the Clavier-Festival Ruhr and the Royal Academy of Music in London. It was thanks to the latter that The Scriabin Ravel Connection was created as part of the Academy's bicentenary celebrations. It must be said that several spiritual guides have watched over the cradle of the young prodigy: Nelson Goerner, Sir Andras Schiff, Jean-Yves Thibaudet... and even Arcadi Volodos, who recently invited Aidan Mikdad to share the stage with him at the TivoliVredenburg in Utrecht!
Aidan Mikdad Piano Recital - ICMT 2022 Young Artists Concert SeriesAidan Mikdad
It is fair to say that Mikdad does anything but play it safe on this debut album, combining supreme technical virtuosity and intelligence as he masterfully compares the works of two composers: Scriabin and Ravel. Of the former, we are treated to early works written between 1894 and 1897, before Scriabin began his aesthetic turn towards more mystical colours. We begin with the Second Sonata, Op. 19, whose first movement, inspired by the sea, responds wonderfully to the Ondine from Ravel's Gaspard of the Night, in the second part of the album. As for the Prelude and Nocturne for the left hand, their technical peculiarity is due to the tendinitis from which Scriabin suffered between 1891 and 1893 through over-exercise. The thematic link with Ravel's Concerto for the left hand is immediate, Ravel having composed the work for the pianist Paul Wittgenstein who had lost his right arm at the front during the First World War.
In Scriabin’s Sonata or the Prelude and Nocturne, just as in Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit, Mikdad pulls on our heartstrings with his velvety touch. He displays an impeccable navigation of ranges and nuances, and a rich, full-bodied approach to tempo. The pianist has perfectly internalized the mixture of madness, mystery and elegance that characterizes the works of both composers. And this is all the more perceptible in Scriabin's compositions, whose complex writing often intimidates young performers who generally prefer to gain more experience before climbing this stylistic mountain. Mikdad shows here a more than welcome audacity. May he be warmly thanked for it!