Scriabin, Bach, Rachmaninov, Frank Bridge… with the left hand.

67B5DFA8-B09D-4D7D-8944-4E01E2784004Just attended a concert by Nicholas McCarthy at St Martin’s Church, West Stockwell Street, Colchester.
Piano music for the left hand.

Bach arr. Wittgenstein – Ave Maria
Scriabin – Prelude and Nocturne Op.9
Piece arr. from Bellini’s ‘Norma’ (Fumagalli, Adolfo)
Bach arr Brahms – Chaconne in D Minor
Frank Bridge – Three Improvisations: At Dawn, A Vigil, A Revel
Rachmaninov arr Meinders – Springwater
Rachmaninov arr. Nicholas McCarthy himself – Prelude in G Minor Op.23 No.5
‘Morgen’ arr. from song – Richard Strauss

An inspiring afternoon just experienced. The fingers flew over the keys like lightsome avians, sometimes filling me with mellow darkness, on a strange heavily rainy day that ended sunny. I was particularly taken with the narrative of his voice between pieces, generous with information on the circumstances and names of those who had historically enhanced the musical left-hand, sinister not dexter, deep, stirring and strong as well as effervescent. Rapture and rhapsody. My only complaint was that he had cut some Scriabin from the original programme. Scriabin was the composer who had attracted me to this venue today. But I was lucky to arrive early to find the pianist limbering up with some Scriabin! All very fitting with the celestial backdrop to the piano, with Scriabin famous for such mysticism.

Roman River Music Festival.

My previous reviews of local concerts HERE.

Dabbling With Imogees

Yes, tonight in the Mercury Theatre, Colchester, a magnificent performance of the Beethoven Diabelli Variations that I have long called ‘Dabbling with Diabelli’ (the title of one of my first published stories in the early 1990s).

Performed by a wonderful pianist: *Imogen Cooper*
Live! A privilege. A lifetime ambition inadvertently achieved. Her fingers were the Diabelli, and her facial expressions part of working with the music, a disarming spirituality. (Also intrigued by her tablet music score that she seemed to work with her foot.) But as you can see from the programme above, Schoenberg (for me, a rare live performance of another of my favourite styles of music), is shown with large detailed space, but lasted only a few minutes as an exquisite, distilled dream. But the Diabelli with one brief programme mention lasted a majestic 55 minutes!

My experience of the Diabelli was slightly disrupted by Arch-Brexiteer Bernard Jenkin suddenly intruding, just before it started, into the audience row in front of me, so that, as I understood it, he could see her hands. Perhaps he also wanted to feast upon those Diabelli…

There was another significant experience in the Schoenberg’s Six Little Pieces Op. 19, leading straight into Haydn’s Sonata No. 60, which I had not expected. In fact, the existence of the Diabelli performance in itself was a surprise to me, as my wife had arranged this visit and I had been unaware of the programme until I got there.

Just outside the Mercury Theatre there is Colchester’s Jumbo. Above, I show yesterday’s close-up of the falcon that is currently in residence. Also I show Jumbo from Colchester High Street’s sightline as we walked to the theatre – on a drained thundery tense evening. As a child in the 1950s, I think I took the sight of Jumbo for granted. Hidden in plain sight, as it were. Yesterday, it looked like an Oriental Temple from an Alternate World.

My previous classical music reviews:

The Endellion String Quartet

I was privileged to see the Endellion Quartet in Colchester yesterday evening, including 3.5 exquisite minutes of one of my favourite composers, Anton Webern. (Bagatelles Op. 9)

I also enjoyed a Beethoven early Op. 18 quartet that was acoustically real-timed into new life after my familiarity with it over the years. Plus what my wife has always called, for some reason, the Basmati Rice Mozart SQ (K421). The pizzicato passages were brought up with a new faery shine. I can’t recall hearing Tchaikovsky SQ No. 3 before (T is not usually a favourite composer of mine but I do enjoy his Chamber Music), and it was enormous fun getting into it with this performance, especially the roundelay of Movement Two.

My previous reviews of local classical music:

And the book: