|SATURDAY 14 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 studies of music students in training at the Music School.
An expectant audience fills the auditorium.
|Photos (non-flash) by Robin Hendy||Click or tap any image to enlarge|
The Concert was in two sections. The first half comprised John Paul accompanying Christ Church 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 Christ Church.
Hannah Gobbett (Clarinet, 3rd year) playing Stamitz, Clarinet Concerto in B flat major, movements 1 & 2
Hannah Jacobi, Contralto (3rd year) sings G Bantock, Song to the Seals
Brendon Powney, Flute (2nd year) plays P Hindemith, Sonata for Flute & Piano, 1st movement
Helena Jukes, Saxophone (2nd year) plays E Bozza, Aria
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, Contralto (3rd year) sings B Britten, Cabaret Songs: ‘Johnny’
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 Ekins in full flight, playing Addinsell’s Warsaw Concerto||President 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.