An American in Portugal
MALCOLM MILLER attends Nancy Lee Harper's recital
of Portuguese piano music in London
In tune with the Iberian theme of this year's Proms, a week-long
series of concerts at the Regent Hall, Oxford Street, London, is also featuring
a wealth of Spanish and Portuguese music. The Regent Hall Summer Festival,
presented by the Iberian and Latin American Music Society with the Beethoven
Piano Society of Europe, under the artistic direction of the pianist Alberto
Portugheis, featured a week of lunchtime recitals and three evening concerts,
from 29 July to 3 August 2002 (two presented by the present writer).
One of the lunchtime concerts was given by Nancy Lee Harper, a noted
American pianist and currently Professor at the University of Averio in
Portugal, founder of the EPTA Portugal, an organiser of many courses and
festivals in Portugal. Her programme offered a refreshing journey through
three centuries of Portuguese piano music, beginning with an energetic and
sparkling account of Scarlatti's brilliant C major sonata Kk 502, the
characteristic repetitions and cadence extensions brightly pointed.
Nancy Lee Harper
Her forthright tone well conveyed the melodic appeal of the Sonata in
C minor of Carlos Seixas, whose output, though less familiar than Scarlatti
was influential in the early history of piano music and well deserves revival.
Next to these late Baroque sonatas, the Dos Sonatas de El Escorial
of Rodolfo Halffter projected their wit and modernist irony, with some wonderful
bitonal effects, using familiar Baroque textures, a curious neo-classicism
immersed in the Spanish keyboard tradition.
Copyright © 5 August 2002
Malcolm Miller, London, UK
EUROPEAN PIANO TEACHERS ASSOCIATION
THE REGENT HALL WEBSITE