REVIEW: Masterful piano recital in Clitheroe

Christopher Guild, who performed for Clitheroe Concerts Society.
Christopher Guild, who performed for Clitheroe Concerts Society.

Clitheroe Concerts Society’s January concert with Christopher Guild proved another winner with the guest performer presenting pieces which either moved music along towards the Romantic era or showed how to introduce other influences.

The piano recital started with C.P.E. Bach’s Sonata in A major, written in 1765 at Potsdam, showing clearly how this son of the great Johan Sebastian’s music was evolving from the Baroque towards the Romantic era.

Instead of sticking slavishly to the progression of time, Christopher’s next piece was by Leos Janacek, “In the Mists” showing the introduction of folk music and impressionism into the thinking of composers. This 1912 piece seems to have been a response to Janacek’s devastation at the death of his daughter, but from its first playing has been a favourite with audiences.

Back to 1827 for Schubert’s well known and highly popular Impromptus No 2 and No 4. Schubert was responsible for introducing the feeling of song into the musical thinking. These glorious pieces of music made a fitting end to the first half of the concert.

Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” filled the complete second half of the evening. “Pictures” needs no introduction, being an imaginary wander around 10 paintings in an exhibition staged to celebrate the life of the artist and architect Victor Hartmann. Each musical description is separated by the well-known promenade theme.

After prolonged applause, with Christopher returning again and again, he offered to play an encore. Agreed by acclamation! This was a piece of music by another innovating composer – George Gershwin. His jazz standard “I want someone to watch over me” from the 1926 musical Oh, Kay! was beautifully played with a deep understanding of its roots. A very impressive and very enjoyable evening.

The Society’s next concert is on March 6th when Gemma Rosefield (cello) and Benjamin Nabarro (violin) play an interesting programme by Martinu, Alan Ridout, Handel/Halvorsen, J. S. Bach, Zigmund Schull and final Ravel. For details and tickets see the Society’s website (www.clitheroeconcerts.org.uk) or for advance tickets call in at Clitheroe Music on Moor Lane or at the Platform Gallery. Full-time students and accompanied children are admitted free.

Ken Geddes