John Paul Ekins 2015 Concert at St Gregory's Centre - Review

SATURDAY 14th NOVEMBER 2015

That Canterbury was able to welcome back the outstanding international pianist John Paul Ekins to the intimate St Gregory’s Centre was the result of the continuing highly successful collaboration between the Rotary Club of Canterbury and Canterbury Christ Church University, raising funds to support and enhance the studying of music students in training at the Music School.

Audience arriving

An expectant audience fills the auditorium.

Photos (non-flash) by Robin Hendy Click or tap any image to enlarge

John Harris introduces the programmeRotarian John Harris introduces the programme

John Paul describes the Student piecesJohn Paul Ekins explains the Student Masterclasses

The Concert was in two sections. The first half comprised John Paul accompanying Christchurch music student instrumentalists and singers, who earlier in the day had undergone masterclasses with him. ‘The improvements shown by the students in the 20mins of one to one tuition that they had with John Paul earlier in the day was truly remarkable’ commented David Allinson, Director of Music at Christchurch.

Hannah Gobbett Clarinet

Hannah Gobbett

Hannah Gobbett (Clarinet, 3rd year) playing Stamitz, Clarinet Concerto in B flat major, movements 1 & 2

Hannah Jacobi

Hannah Jacobi

Hannah Jacobi, Contralto (3rd year) sings G Bantock, Song to the Seals

Brendon Powney Flute

Brendon Powney Flute

Brendon Powney , Flute (2nd year) plays P. Hindemith, Sonata for Flute & Piano, 1st movement

Helena Jukes, Saxophone

Helena Jukes, Saxophone

Helena Jukes, Saxophone (2nd year) plays E. Bozza, Aria

Matt Mann, Flute

Matt Mann, Flute

Matt Mann, Flute (3rd year) plays P. Taffanel, Andante Pastorale

Performances ranged from the sensitive, musical playing of Matt Mann performing Taffanel’s Andante Pastorale to the highly amusing performance of Benjamin Britten’s Cabaret Song ‘Johnny’ by the fine and expressive voice of Sara Wilson.

Sara Wilson

Sara Wilson

Sara Wilson, Contralto (3rd year) sings B.Britten, Cabaret Songs: ‘Johnny’

All the students take a bowThe six Christchurch students take a bow after their performances

David AllinsonDavid Allinson, Director of Music

The second half saw John Paul at his brilliant best. A well-chosen repertoire of popular music was ideal for the large, relatively non specialist audience. Addinsell’s well known, ‘Warsaw Concerto’, arranged for solo piano, which was music composed for the 1941 film Dangerous Moonlight, enchanted us with the composers unashamed use of indulgent harmonies and grand Romantic gestures.

John Paul in full flightJohn Paul Ekins in full flight, playing Addinsell’s Warsaw Concerto President Peter Hermitage winds up the ConcertPresident Peter Hermitage winds up the concert with thanks to all participants

The flawless playing of Chopin’s popular Mazurka in A minor Op 17, No 4 , which was composed in France, followed, which John Paul ended with a prolonged period of silence, and no applause, possibly remembering the terrible atrocities in Paris the night previously.

Liszt's dramatic one movement tone poem, Ballade No 2 in B Minor with its dramatic and frenetic rhythms was played with such virtuosity that one was left wondering how John Paul's brain managed to communicate with his fingers so effectively!

The finale was a real treat! Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue played with a background orchestral tape, to ensure that the jazz of the orchestra was not missing from the performance, and with a ‘click track’ plugged into John Paul’s ear to ensure exact co-ordination with the tape – a technique frequently used by pop musicians but previously not seen by your reviewer in a classical music concert. He finished to thunderous applause.

Not only did we hear some brilliantly performed music but the packed hall were given a short analysis of each piece of music prior to its playing, which together with comprehensive programme notes, greatly enhanced our enjoyment of the evenings programme

This young performer not only gave us an evening of technically almost perfect, varied and well-chosen recital pieces but was able to communicate with his audience both emotionally and verbally in a way which is rarely seen.
Well done Canterbury Rotary for bringing to us yet another evening of fine musical entertainment!

Review by Stuart Field

Sunday 15th November 2015

Published by: The Rotary Club of Canterbury

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