Its wonderful to be coming back here to North Norfolk for this Festival. For the first concert an evening of Spanish songs with the soprano Amaia Ascona of Albéniz, Granados, [...]
Its wonderful to be coming back here to North Norfolk for this Festival. For the first concert an evening of Spanish songs with the soprano Amaia Ascona of Albéniz, Granados, de Falla, Turina, Lorca and others. The concert will take place in the splendours of Holkham Hall.
(Thursday) 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
For the second concert an evening of Musical Mirrors and Impressions. Music by Ravel and Weber, Liszt and Scarlatti. The programme is centred on Ravel's 5 Mirrors, which Ravel himself [...]
For the second concert an evening of Musical Mirrors and Impressions. Music by Ravel and Weber, Liszt and Scarlatti. The programme is centred on Ravel’s 5 Mirrors, which Ravel himself based on various compositions he was working on or playing at the time, and the pieces were written as a kind of present to an intimate circle of his friends who included poets, writers and painters. This programme is devised to show the Mirrors that could have been the influence, hence the pieces by Liszt and Scarlatti, and in the first half I have devised a little musical mirror of my own, reflecting Weber’s Invitation to the Dance, to Ravel’s Valses Nobles and Sentimentales. The concert will take place in the lovely church of St Mary’s in South Creake with its wonderful acoustic.
(Monday) 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
In the festival’s opening concert, Melvyn Tan showed himself to be another of our great but relatively neglected figures. Probably no one today conveys so comprehensive an insight into Liszt’s B Minor Sonata. It was like hearing vivid performances of the past. His Beethoven — the Op 109 sonata — had unanswerable authority, and in between he played a work specially written for him: Jonathan Dove’s étude-like Catching Fire (2016), a minimalism-style repetitive “workout”, to use Tan’s word. His encore, Liszt’s concert étude Un sospiro, was captivating.
Yet the occasion had been transformed at its midpoint by Tan’s solo performance of Liszt’s Three Concert Etudes, S144. One wasn’t at all prepared for this modest manifestation of complete, devastating musicality. Virtuosity became poetry; phrasing became human breathing (not only in the third study, Un sospiro!); and the whole breadth of the keyboard (a modern Steinway, but lent a homely immediacy as of a period instrument) was constantly commanded as though a single handspan. It was pianism as stirring and illuminating as any I’ve heard.
Tan’s easy asides to the audience matched by his ingratiating engagement with the music, the beautiful sound that he produces, and the moments (…) of visionary grandeur – he is quite the shaman-showman. This exceptional recital cooled down with a dip into Debussy’s ‘Poissons d’or.’
‘With pianist and string players of one mind, the performance was an intensely musical one. The balance of sound was close to ideal, with the work’s understated instrumental virtuosity firmly placed to one side. (…) The applause was long and loud, so Tan and the quartet encored the latter half of the Scherzo.’
Despite the diverse compositional styles, each piece easily flows from one to the next, abetted by Melvyn Tan’s mellifluous and caring interpretations. A most enjoyable, enchanting 22 minutes of music, well worth downloading.