Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us


Mark Dennis at PLGYA

PLG Young Artists. Purcell Room 9, 11 January 2006

Lancier Brass Quintet
Alasdair Beatson
George King-Piano
Timothy Orpen-Clarinet, Alison Farr-Piano
Fenella Humphreys-Violin, Helen Reid-Piano

Further to PGW’s review of the first half of this concert, the second continued to act as a wonderful show case for Alasdair Beatson’s marvellous playing and an opportunity to admire the skills of the brass players, if not their choice of repertoire.

The Lanciers inflicted on us the decidedly ropey ‘The Rite of Lucifuge’, a sort of cod attempt to provide a soundtrack for an imaginary film adaptation of a Dennis Wheatley style story concerning the invocation of Old Nick, presumably to feature Christopher Lee (this is my interpretation of what the composer was trying to achieve), on the audience. I can only say that this disjointed din occupied twenty five minutes of my life that I won’t see again!

The recital was however entirely redeemed by the pianist. Alasdair Beatson gave a sublime performance of ‘Non mi comporto male’ by Richard Causton. In the unlikely event that I was ever invited to appear on Private Passions this brilliant piece of music would be just be about my first choice; to hear it played this well was unforgettable. If you do not know the work of this fine composer I strongly recommend its acquaintance.
Beatson concluded with a breathtaking performance of three of Bolcom’s etudes. The final one Rag infernal, in particular brought the house down and is an ideal, if very risky encore choice for the super virtuosic.

Yet another outstanding pianist! George King combines his career as a recitalist with playing jazz and composing. He has a charismatic stage presence together with an almost Sokolov like disdain for audience reaction to his playing. After his fine account of Boulez’s ‘Notations’ (1946) he simply placed the music for George Benjamin’s ‘Shadowlines’ on the piano stand and continued to play. This performance featured a very powerful left hand throughout and the mesmeric ground bass in the fifth piece was sure and solid, and created a fine foundation for the overlaid textures created by the composer. King's own étude gave a great opportunity for virtuosity and for the second time this week (q.v Alasdair Beatson’s performance of Bolcom études) we witnessed a young performer playing the sort of fiendish pieces associated with a Hamelin or Berezovsky.

The recital ended with Magnus Lindberg’s ‘Piano Jubilees’ which were dedicated to Boulez and contain more than a nod to Debussy, particularly in the shimmering nocturne that comes fourth in the sequence. The fine performance rounded off this life-enhancing concert.

Mark Dennis