The young Turkish pianist AyseDeniz Gokcin made her concert debut at the age of nine, has already played at international festivals in Moscow, Beijing and Istanbul, and won the diploma prize at the Vladimir Horowitz International Piano Competition in 1999. She has just completed her masters at the Royal Academy of Music and seems to have decided to celebrate by making something of a splash. She has recorded a group of pieces which she is releasing in Itunes and other Digital Music outlets.
Now, I have a confession. When Pink Floyd played the Manchester Palace in 1977 when I was a student, I didn’t go to see them. I can’t remember the last time I listened to Dark Side of the Moon, and I don’t possess any other Pink Floyd records. The only song I recognised on first listening was Another brick in the wall.
I am not sure that AyseDeniz Gockin has quite the same grasp of structure that Liszt does and she has a tendency, in moments of stress, to fall back on standard piano figurations, arpeggios in the right hand, jazz piano in the left. These pieces sound rather like improvisations which have simply been notated. And I think that AyseDeniz Gockin the arranger needs to stretch AyseDeniz Gockin the pianist a little more. These are attractive and personable arrangements, but they do not quite put the pianist at full stretch the way Liszt does.
There is also a problem with her model. Liszt’s Dante Sonata dates from his middle period, when he had settled in Weimar. Whereas his piano transcriptions of popular melodies, and his rock star life-style, date from an earlier period in his life. Also, the Dante Sonata isn’t a transcription, it is an original work though based on something Liszt wrote earlier.
But, if you put aside all the pseudo philosophising and just listen, then the movements are rather fun. There are some lovely moments, and some stunning barn-storming ones. I was very struck by the opening of the second piece which seems to be rather Liszt meets cool jazz. And the arrangement of Another brick in the wall in the third movement as Mefistofelean fantasy is simply stunning.
In fact, on repeated listening, I ended up assigning Faustian characters to the movements, I rather though that we started with Marguerite, then moved on to Faust himself, who is a cool dude, till finally Mefistofeles brings everything to a barn-storming conclusion.
I’d be interested to know what Pink Floyd enthusiast thought of this piece, would they appeal or appal. But certainly AyseDeniz Gockin has the making of rather a fun piece for ending concerts.
Further details from AyseDeniz Gockin's website.