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Samuel Deason Photo: Richard Grebby RG Studios

Afternoon to evening with Samuel

HOT music correspondent Brian Hick enjoyed a finely balanced and highly enjoyable evening of piano music in the seventeenth online concert featuring prizewinners in Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition.

Samuel Deason, a prize-winner in the 2016 Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition, has fond memories of his time with us. He remembers the people who supported him and were so friendly; he remembers the food; and he remembers the weather – in particular, the downpour as he was running to a venue for one of the heats and arrived soaked. He suspects it may have added a little something to his performance that day!

He was in the fortunate position to record his concert from a small hall with a fine view out of the large window behind the stage. As the three works unfolded, the light moved from late afternoon to deep night – providing a gently shifting background to the three romantic works.

He opened with Chopin’s Polonaise in E flat Minor, Op26 No2. It is a dark work given that our expectation of the Polish dance is for a more extrovert involvement. Does it verge towards melancholy? Possibly, but the technical brilliance of the writing out-weighs this.

The other two works were both by Brahms, commencing with the Rhapsody in E flat Major, Op119 No4. This was the composer’s last work for the piano and was premiered in London in 1894. The sudden rush of enthusiasm is welcome after the brooding Chopin but even this work ends, though heroically, in the minor. The Scherzo in E flat Minor, Op4, was Brahms’ first published work for the piano when he was 18. There is a lovely fluidity to the writing, not to say a deliberate attempt to impress – which of course it does. The sheer virtuosity of the score reflects the world of Clara Schumann and her husband in the desire to challenge each other to ever higher feats of music-making. A finely balanced concert and highly enjoyable.

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Photograph by Richard Grebby.

Posted 18:32 Tuesday, Jul 14, 2020 In: Music & Sound

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