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Daniel Rainey at All Saints Church 24 Septemeber 2015 photo: Jonathan Bruce

Daniel Rainey at All Saints Church, Hastings 24 September 2015 Photo: Jonathan Bruce

Making the music his own

What separates a musician from the crowd? Is it not the way he makes the music his own? Which is why I knew I’d asked the wrong question, when I asked Daniel Rainey what was his favourite music to play? It is as if the music he is currently playing is always his favourite – more importantly it is his! HOT’s Chris Cormack writes on a musical phenomenon, who graced the Hastings International Composers Festival for all four concerts.

Daniel Rainey has had a busy, long weekend, participating in all four concerts of the Composers’ Festival; sometimes more than once in the same concert. Whether playing the well known works – Nigel Hess’ Ladies in Lavender, John Williams’ Schindler’s List – or the works we heard for the first time, we can’t help that gut reaction to these live performances: that this was a musical presence who enveloped the room and stamped the music as his own, in the most sensitive of ways. Just imagine his performance with Nicola Benedetti (which I unfortunately missed!) at a prom concert in 2012. Would this music have had a dual personality?!

Daniel Rainey rehearsing with Miho Sanou (piano),  Hiroko Ueda (clarinet) and composer Nobuya Monta Photo: Jonathan Bruce

Daniel Rainey rehearsing with Miho Sanou (piano), Hiroko Ueda (clarinet) and composer Nobuya Monta Photo: Jonathan Bruce

Yet to meet Daniel, what you see is a down-to-earth, modest and personable young man. He is not voluble – I think he lets the music do the talking. Having won the glittering prizes, studied in solo masterclasses with the greats, Maxim Vengerov et al, Daniel has graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and has recently completed his Masters at the Royal Academy of Music. One senses he is keen to put academia behind him and launch himself into some great performances, which I am sure we will enjoy in future, but Daniel, rather than being carried away with imaginings, is very much focused on the next project in hand. He would like to create a first class recording of Janacek’s violin sonata.  Is his enthusiasm for this a sign of where his personal preferences lie? Maybe – or just another sign that he is extremely focused on the work at hand and it is this focused approach that allows him to make the music his own.

Daniel takes the view that his work is 95% perspiration and 5% inspiration, but it seems to me, talking to him, that he always found the ‘perspiration’ rewarding work. His parents did not have to force him to rehearse when he was very young, because he always found pleasure in what he was doing, including the interaction with others in the music. And when we discussed whether he relished the challenge of ‘difficult’ music, it seems that this was not a function of his enjoyment. He clearly can handle the challenge of difficult music, and, difficult or easy, he enjoys the beauty of music for what it is, regardless of what sort of challenge it presents to play. Either way, his expression of the music is always beautiful.

Daniel Rainey and Maestro Monta Phot: Jonathan Bruce

Daniel Rainey and Maestro Monta Phot: Jonathan Bruce

During the Composers’ Festival, Daniel played a wide range of the beautiful music composed by Composer in Residence, Maestro Nobuya Monta, including a solo piece, Sakura-Mai (Cherry Blossoms), based on a well known theme in Japan; a violin concerto and a trio with brilliant virtuosi Miho Sanou (piano) and Hiroko Ueda (clarinet). It was a pleasure to appreciate the spiritual links between composers and performers. Only on occasions like the Composers’ Festival do we get inklings of the artistic bond that can arise between composer and performer.

Daniel has played the premiere of Nobuya Monta’s 2nd piano sonata, alongside directing and performing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons during his tour to Japan recently. Maestro Monta described Daniel’s music as having ‘brilliant technique and sophisticated interpretation’.

It is difficult to write of just one virtuoso who participated at the Composers’ Festival, because there were so many brilliant virtuosi who participated and contributed to the very high standard of the orchestra. To try to list these people would create the danger of missing out equally important musicians. However, for sheer hard work and musical virtuosity, I cannot not mention the members of the Danzi Osaka Wind Quintet, who not only started their concerts two days earlier than the rest, after a punishing long haul flight, but they also contributed the most in virtuosi pieces, alone, in groups, as the quintet and as important members of the International Festival Orchestra. The five virtuosi are: Hiroshi Oe (flute), Kiyoshi Fukuda (oboe), Kohji Tsuji (horn), Tomoko Konishi (bassoon) and the afore-mentioned, Hiroko Ueda (clarinet).

Thank you to all the musicians who participated in the Festival,

more out of love for the music than anything else!

 

 

Posted 14:59 Wednesday, Sep 30, 2015 In: Music & Sound