Review: Tickhill Music Society, Piano Recital

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OVER the years the Piano Recital has been a well-regarded feature of Tickhill Music Society’s programme planning.

Their latest concert - at St Mary’s C of E School,Tickhill - continued that tradition in fine style.

Pianist Christopher Guild, generously sponsored by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, provided an unusual programme and some impressive playing, enthusiastically received by the audience.

In Beethoven’s Pathétique sonata he emphasised the turbulent contrasts of dynamics and speed. The beautiful lyrical theme of the second movement made a marked contrast.

Then to Respighi, a composer many of us know only through his large orchestral works.

In contrast we heard three reflective preludes based on Gregorian and religious themes. With sensitive and respectful playing, these were something of a revelation, showing an aspect of this composer unfamiliar to many of us.

Franz Liszt was a piano virtuoso of prodigious talent. One of his specialities were transcriptions in which he would take well known themes from other composers and transform them into elaborate concoctions of his own.

The one we heard was his paraphrase of themes from Gounod’s opera Faust, notably the famous waltz. This was elaborately embellished by Liszt to show off his supreme pianistic skills and Christopher Guild dashed it all off with appropriate panache.

After the interval we enjoyed the six pieces of Debussy’s Children’s Corner suite, written for his young daughter whose world it explores. Jimbo’s Lullaby is suitably elephantine and the delicate Snow Is Dancing all elegant musical impressionism. The suite is rounded off with the boisterous Gollywog’s Cakewalk. Delightful music making.

Finally to Scriabin, a piano prodigy whose early works were influenced by Chopin. Later in life his music became what Guild described as ‘experimental’, even mystical. This sombre third sonata stands at the threshold of that strange later period. Scriabin originally called it ‘Gothic’ and likened it to a ruined castle. It certainly has monumental blocks of sound with a quieter third movement which is tender, sorrowful and rather dreamlike. At a first hearing it is difficult to cope with the complexity and soul-searching and I was grateful for the ‘Gothic’ reference as a framework for this complex work.

So, an imaginative programme played by a performer with considerable technical skill and great promise rounded off another rewarding Music Society concert.

AGL (A Grateful Listener)