Warm welcome for unusual programme


St Mary’s Primary School

OVER the years, the piano recital has been a well-regarded feature of Tickhill Music Society’s programme planning.

Their concert on 20 January continued that tradition in fine style.

The pianist, Christopher Guild, generously sponsored by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, provided an unusual programme and some impressive playing which was enthusiastically received by the audience.

In Beethoven’s ‘Pathétique’ sonata he emphasised the turbulent contrasts of dynamics and speed. The beautiful lyrical theme of the second movement made a marked contrast.

Then to Respighi, a composer many of us know only through his large orchestral works. In contrast we heard three reflective preludes based on Gregorian and religious themes.

With sensitive and respectful playing, these were something of a revelation, showing an aspect of this composer unfamiliar to many of us.

Franz Liszt was a piano virtuoso of prodigious talent. One of his specialities were transcriptions in which he would take well known themes from other composers and transform them into elaborate concoctions of his own.

The one we heard was his paraphrase of themes from Gounod’s opera ’Faust’, notably the famous waltz. This was elaborately embellished by Liszt to show off his supreme pianistic skills.

Christopher Guild dashed it all off with appropriate panache. After the interval we enjoyed the six pieces of Debussy’s ‘Children’s Corner’ suite, written for his young daughter, whose world it explores.

‘Jimbo’s Lullaby’ is suitably elephantine and the delicate ‘Snow is Dancing’ all elegant musical impressionism. The suite is rounded off with the boisterous ‘Gollywog’s Cakewalk’. Delightful music making.

Finally to Scriabin, a piano prodigy whose early works were influenced by Chopin. Later in life his music became what Christopher Guild described as ‘experimental’, even mystical.

This sombre third sonata stands at the threshold of that strange later period. Scriabin originally called it ‘Gothic’ and likened it to a ruined castle.

It certainly has monumental blocks of sound with a quieter third movement which is tender, sorrowful and rather dreamlike.

At a first hearing it is difficult to cope with the complexity and soul-searching and I was grateful for the ‘Gothic’ reference as a framework for this complex work.

So, an imaginative programme played by a performer with considerable technical skill and great promise rounded off another rewarding Music Society concert.



Doncaster Minster

DID you know that, located in Doncaster town centre, there’s something that people from far and wide are just itching to get their hands on?

It’s a rare and splendid treasure that almost no other British town or city can rival, and 2012 just so happens to be the 150th anniversary of its being here. Can you guess what it is yet?

Well, if you go to Saint George’s Minster at the right time, you’ll hear this highly prized, sought-after treasure thundering out its mighty music: Doncaster has a mighty Schulze organ, one of the largest organs in all Europe and quite a rarity.

To celebrate its 150 years in Donny, a whole series of special recitals have been organised (organised, eh? - no pun intended). You can catch them roughly monthly on Friday lunchtimes or on summer Saturday evenings.

Esteemed young organist, choir director and recording artist, Ian Roberts, was first to get his hands on the splendid keyboard in a programme of wonderfully varied pieces that brought out well the beauty and versatility of this magnificent instrument.

As we moved (almost) chronologically, music from seven composers (Schmidt, Marcello, Bruhns, Franck, Vierne, Refice, Eben) brought us from the seventeenth right up to today, impressing listeners all the way with the Schulze’s fine range of orchestral tones: from light and delicate to bold and boisterous, from rich and warm to creepily spooky, from fluty and floating to deep and throaty, the pieces grew increasingly moving and exciting.

Why not take a pew for the next free, fifty-minute lunchtime recital on February 24th at 1.10 pm.

* Eileen Caiger Gray