Category Archives: Reviews

Review of Recital by Jamie Bergin 20 November 2018

Despite a cold, wet evening a good audience attended a recital given in the Pottery Room at Sunderland Museum on Tuesday evening and they were not disappointed by the performance given by British born pianist Jamie Bergin, who impressed everyone with his thoughtful playing. The evening began with a beautiful and relaxed performance of the Moments Musicaux by Schubert which was followed by the Sonata No. 26 in E Flat, op. 81a [Les Adieux] by Beethoven and although both works came from around the same time there was a marked contrast in style. The more simple style of the Schubert [particularly in Nos. 3 and 6] was complemented by the middle period Beethoven which ended with an exciting third movement.

After the interval there was a rarely performed work by Debussy, Images Oubliées. This was a good introduction to Gaspard de la Nuit which ended the programme. Here, we were left in no doubt about Jamie Bergin’s virtuosity. The performance was given with great authority, with the technical problems presenting no difficulty. Scarbo was particularly stunning and made a good end to the evening during which we had heard a performance of great maturity, technique and dynamic range which went from ppp (without losing the quality of sound) to louder passages which were never too loud.

Jamie has now finished his tour of London and the North East and is returning to Germany but we hope that he will come back in the not too distant future.

Lily Scott

Review of Recital by Cristian Sandrin 16 October 2018

Sunderland Pianoforte Society continued its 76th season with an outstanding recital given by the Romanian pianist Cristian Sandrin who was kindly sponsored by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust. The recital was given in the Pottery Room at Sunderland Museum on Tuesday, 16th October and was well attended by an enthusiastic audience that was well rewarded with an excellent evening.

The recital started with the Variations in F minor by Haydn which were followed by the Sonata in D minor op.31 no.2 by Beethoven, both well played, with great attention to detail particularly in the first movement of the Beethoven where the pedal was used correctly as indicated by the composer. The second movement was beautifully played and the third movement was a fitting end to the first half. After the interval we heard Étude pour les Arpèges Composés No. 11 by Debussy, a difficult, rarely played work from a set of 12 piano studies. This was one of the most popular of the set and certainly one of the most difficult, again well played. We then heard the Berceuse, op.57 by Chopin and the evening ended with Kreisleriana op.16 by Schumann which was the highlight of the recital and left the audience demanding an encore. The Chopin Barcarolle was a fitting end to a really enjoyable evening which was appreciated by everyone.

Born to a family of musicians from Bucharest, Romania, Cristian Sandrin made his solo debut at the age of 13. After graduating from the Dinu Lipatti Art College he moved to London where he worked with many famous pianists. His solo debut in London was at the Wigmore Hall in September 2017.

The Society is grateful for the financial help given by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust by making it possible for us to present such a brilliant young pianist who is assured of a successful career.

Lily Scott

Review of Recital by Riyad Nicolas 25 September 2018

On Tuesday, 25th September Sunderland Pianoforte Society opened its 76th season with a recital given by RIYAD NICOLAS who has just returned from Budapest after winning 1st Prize in the famous LISZT PIANO COMPETITION.

This was well attended by an appreciative audience who enjoyed an evening of impressive piano music. The recital began with a thoughtful performance of the Sonata no.31 in A flat major, op.110 by Beethoven which was followed by Schumann’s Fantasiestücke, op. 16, a set of 8 pieces well contrasted in style and beautifully played. After the interval Riyad Nicolas played the Chopin Sonata no. 3 in B minor, and this was a rare performance of attention to detail and perfection which at no time was ever overtaken by his brilliant technique. This was played with thought and sensitivity. We then heard Grandes Études de Paganini No. 6 by Liszt and realised why Riyad had won such a major prize as this very demanding study was played without any effort. This ended the recital but the audience wanted more and were given an encore of Dia Al Succari “Danse de Laila”.

Riyad Nicolas was born in Aleppo, Syria, in 1989 and has already established himself as a highly talented and brilliant pianist who has played in many parts of the world. Besides solo performances Riyad is a keen Chamber Music player.

The next recital to be given by the SUNDERLAND PIANOFORTE SOCIETY will be Tuesday, October 16th at 7.15pm in the Pottery room at the Museum. Due to building work in the usual entrance signs will direct the audience through the cafe.

Lily Scott

Concert by Members and Friends – 15 May 2018

The 75th anniversary season ended in some style with a concert by members and friends of the society, organised by our chairman, Kevin Walsh.  A good audience at the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens enjoyed a varied programme, with interval refreshments.  The pianists and the pieces they played were:

Alan Bowers         Andante from Sonata Op. 28, by Beethoven

Ben Richards        Consolation no. 3 in D flat, by Liszt

Graeme Humphrey      Allemande from French Suite no. 5, by Bach;

.                                       Impromptu in A flat D935, by Schubert

Alan England        La Cathedral Engloutie, by Debussy

Peter Hayes          Maple Leaf Rag, and Stop Time Rag, by Joplin

Annie Ball              El Fandango de Candil from Goyescas, by Granados

Sarah Robinson    Fantasy in C Op.17 (1st movement), by Schumann

Kevin Walsh           Petrarch Sonnet no.47, by Liszt

Joe Carville             Lyric Pieces (selection), by Grieg

Alan Coxon            Reflets dans l’Eau, by Debussy

David McRae         Ballade no. 1 in G minor, by Chopin

.                               La Campanella, by Liszt/Busoni

Thanks to all the pianists for their contributions to what was a very pleasant and successful evening.

Review of Recital by Alexandra Vaduva 17 April 2018

On Tuesday, April 17th Romanian-born Alexandra Vaduva gave a piano recital in the Pottery Room at Sunderland Museum. This was well attended by an enthusiastic audience who could not fail to be impressed by her brilliant but very musical performance which covered a wide range of varied music.

The evening began with the Sonata in A minor, D537 by Schubert, well played in great style. The subtle use of pedal in the second movement managed to keep a legato tune whilst keeping the staccato bass. We then heard two Scarlatti Sonatas, E major, K380 and D minor, K9 again very well played. The music then moved to a more modern age of George Enescu (1881-1955) with two pieces from his Suite no.3 which were most pleasant and well contrasted. After the interval there was a beautiful performance of three Intermezzi, Op. 117 by Brahms then we returned to Enescu to hear the Suite for Piano no.1 in G minor op. 3. This is a four movement suite, well contrasted and needing a strong technique as well as musicianship. This work, as with the earlier Enescu, was performed with great authority and power and the Society should feel privileged to be presenting a First Performance [in Sunderland] of such good works.

The audience was most impressed with the entire evening and it was gratifying to see how well the Enescu was received. After such a rousing end to the evening Alexandra gave us an encore of Schumann’s “Träumerei”.

Alexandra Vaduva was sponsored by The Countess of Munster Trust who help young talented artists at the beginning of their career and we certainly hope that we shall hear more of her in the future.

Lily Scott.

 

Review of Recital by Viv McLean 13 February 2018

On Tuesday, February 13th the Society celebrated its 75th anniversary in style with a recital by the brilliant young British pianist Viv McLean who delighted the audience with an appropriate programme for the occasion. Viv was making a welcome return having played on several occasions previously and began the evening with the Variations on “God Save the King” by Beethoven. This was followed by Brahms’ Variations and Fugue on a theme by Handel Op.24, which was played with great authority and power and well appreciated by the audience. After the interval we were treated to a collection of pieces by Chopin starting with the rarely heard Polonaise in C minor Op. 40 No. 2 to be followed by the more gentle Nocturne in G minor Op. 30 No. 1. Then came the famous Scherzo No.2 in B flat minor Op.31, always a favourite with the audience. The Nocturne in E minor, Op. 72 No.1 was followed by a grand performance of the ever popular Polonaise in A flat major, Op. 53 and made a suitable end to the evening, except that the audience were treated to a surprise encore. Viv Mclean gave the first performance of a Polka by composer David Pennycuick which was a good end to the celebrations.

Everyone went home very happy after an evening of fine, well performed music and free refreshments in the interval.

Lily Scott

Review of Recital by John Paul Ekins 12 December 2017

Despite icy roads and low temperatures, a good audience attended the recital at Sunderland Museum where John Paul Ekins stood in at short notice for Grace Yeo, who was indisposed. Despite a busy schedule John Paul managed to fit in a visit to Sunderland where he delighted the audience with an excellent recital.

The evening began with two Polonaises by Chopin (in C Sharp Minor and E Flat Minor, op.26), and the Romanze (in F sharp major, op.28) by Schumann. The first half of the recital ended with a very refined performance of Sonata no. 8 in C Minor, op.13 (the Pathétique) by Beethoven. After the interval (and mince pies) the evening continued with a most powerful performance of “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Mussorgsky. The encore was the Chopin Mazurka no.13 in A minor.

John Paul Ekins last played for Sunderland Pianoforte Society in February 2014, when as a young pianist he was embarking on his career, which is now very successful. He has performed as soloist at a number of prestigious venues in the UK, including London’s Wigmore Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and St Martin in the Fields. His concerts have taken him to all parts of the world, where he has performed concertos by Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Grieg and Rachmaninov.

John Paul was pleased to return to Sunderland and was very complimentary about the Society’s treasured piano.

Review of Recital by Alexander Karpeyev 14 November 2017

The Society’s 75th season continued with a recital by the brilliant young Russian pianist Alexander Karpeyev who played a programme of music from his native land.

The recital began with 9 pieces from Visions Fugitives by Prokofiev which made a good opening for an evening of brilliance and power as well as intense musical insight into some rarely heard music. This was followed by Sonata-Ballade, op. 27 by Medtner, again seldom heard but was well received by the audience who were impressed by Alexander Karpeyev’s virtuosity. This is the 8th of Medtner’s sonatas, composed between 1912 and 1914 and was a good follow up to the Sonata Romantica which we heard last month. After the interval we had some rarely heard miniatures by Grechaninov. These were charming short pieces by a relatively unknown composer born in 1864 and was known for his liturgical works for the Russian Orthodox Church. We then had some Rachmaninov; Fragments, Etude-Tableaux and part of All-Night Vigil op.37, all beautifully played. The evening finished with Three Movements from Petrouchka by Stravinsky which made a very good end to an exciting recital. These were played with such power and ability that the audience demanded an encore which was a March by Medtner.

Alexander Karpeyev began playing the piano at the age of 7 and in 2000 he entered the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory. In 2005 he won a scholarship to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he studied with Joan Havill. He has won many competitions and performed in all major cities as well as being Artistic Director of the Medtner Festival in London. The second Medtner Festival will be celebrated 26-27 November,2017.   WWW.MEDTNERFEST.CO.UK

Altogether, a wonderful evening and a pianist to watch.

Lily Scott

Review of Recital by Dinara Klinton 24 October 2017

The 75th season of the Sunderland Pianoforte Society continued with a recital given by the young Russian pianist Dinara Klinton and this was an evening of sheer perfection from beginning to end. Anyone who missed this recital missed a treat.

Born in Ukraine, Dinara Klinton started her piano lessons at the age of 5 and a year later she entered the Kharkiv Special Secondary Music School. After graduating from the Moscow Central Music School, where she studied between 2001 and 2007 with Valery Pyasetsky, she went on to graduate with honours from the Moscow Sate Conservatory. Dinara has been awarded a Master of Performance Degree by the Royal College of Music and has completed the Artist Diploma in Performance course under the tutelage of Dina Parakhina. As well as winning many competitions, Dinara has toured extensively.

The evening began with a beautiful performance of the Bach Partita No.1 in B Flat, played with careful pedalling which never at any time affected the clarity. This was a popular work enjoyed by everyone. Then came the Medtner Sonata Romantica in B flat minor which was quite a revelation as many of the audience had not heard this before. Sadly, Medtner’s music is not widely performed even in Russia. Like many artists, Medtner emigrated from Russia in 1919 after the revolution and after his death in England his wife returned his entire archive to his homeland. In April 2017 Dinara Klinton was part of a group of students working with Professor Dina Parakhina who performed the entire set of fourteen sonatas at the Rachmaninov Hall of the Moscow Tchaikowsky Conservatory. The Sonata Romantica is a very difficult work but was played with great power and authority. The technical difficulties presented no challenge and despite being a relatively unknown work to the audience it was extremely well received. After the interval we heard a beautiful performance of the Sonata in C sharp minor, Op. 27 No.2 (“Moonlight”) by Beethoven, which was enjoyed by the audience. The programme ended with two Transcendental Studies, Nos. 9 and 10, by Liszt, which again were beautifully played and enjoyed. The evening had clearly been a great success as the audience demanded an encore and Dinara finished the evening with Chopin’s study Op. 25 No.1 in A flat.

Lily Scott

The Society would like to acknowledge the support of Making Music, which is the UK’s leading organisation for voluntary music. Its Philip and Dorothy Green Award for Young Concert Artists has helped to launch the careers of many young musicians and the Society is grateful for the financial help they provide.

Review of Recital by Sarah Beth Briggs 19 September 2017

Sunderland Pianoforte Society celebrated the 75th season with a recital by former member Sarah Beth Briggs who delighted the audience with a varied and interesting programme. The recital started with the Italian Concerto BWV 971 by Bach which was given with great authority and clarity. The Mozart sonata in F, K332, followed this and again was given a good, thoughtful performance. The first half of the recital ended with the rarely heard Beethoven sonata, op. 90. After the interval we moved to the more romantic music and were treated to the Sonatina in A minor by Hans Gal, a composer who was born in Vienna in 1890 but moved to Edinburgh in 1939 and was one of the founders of the Edinburgh Festival. This was really beautiful music and very well played. It is worth mentioning that it was its first performance in Sunderland and well received by an appreciative audience. We then heard Two Arabesques by Debussy then the Schumann Arabeske, op. 18. The evening ended with a powerful performance of the Chopin Ballade No. 4 which presented no technical difficulties to Sarah Beth Briggs despite being one of the most challenging works in the piano repertoire. However, the audience wanted more and were given a soothing encore of Traumerei by Schumann.

Newcastle born Sarah Beth studied with the late Denis Matthews and her professional career was launched at the age of eleven when she became the then youngest ever finalist in the BBC Young Musician of the Year. Sarah’s playing takes her to many countries and she enjoys balancing a successful solo career with numerous chamber music engagements. Her most recent venture is a piano duet partnership with James Lisney.

The Society is grateful that Sarah has been able to perform for our special season and we look forward to following her career in the future.

LS