<< -- 2 -- Keith Bramich AN EXPRESSION OF EMOTION
'If I look at what I do', Sainsbury explains, 'I suppose I could say
that there are two quite different aspects -- largely defined by the piano
side and the orchestral side. I would certainly acknowledge the legacy of
Elgar, Walton and Holst in my orchestral work, whereas my piano music occupies
a very different world: there's definitely a flamenco and Latin American
influence there! I've always loved flamenco guitar music and the whole feel
of the flamenco tradition generally -- very fiery and proud.' Not all of
the composer's piano music has this influence, though -- pieces such
as Nocturne, Sea Storm, and the varied set of Twelve Preludes
have shades of Chopin and Debussy.
Direct, down-to-earth and very forthright in his opinions about music,
Sainsbury's simplicity of approach is quickly evident. 'I think music is
an expression of emotion. Thomas Hardy once referred to the amazing power
of the composer to summon up feelings. It's something intensely individualistic,
but you find it and recognise it in all different kinds of music -- in the
St John Passion, for example -- much of Bach's music is terrifically
powerful and intense. You find it in Elgar and also in Chopin.'
Sainsbury at the piano in his Oxfordshire home. Photo: Keith Bramich
As a gifted pianist, Sainsbury has recorded a selection of his piano
music on CD, to critical acclaim -- the Andalusian Fantasy, Twelve
Preludes, the Cuban Fantasy (recently broadcast on BBC Radio
3), Nocturne and the South American Suite, (the CD is
available online from Tutti -- read
the separate M&V review) -- and has recently given various solo concerts
of his own music.
Sketch of Lionel Sainsbury by Bob Williams, 1995, as shown on the cover of the composer's piano music disc.
Sainsbury's audiences are consistently enthusiastic, and his music has
been played by performers such as Barry Wordsworth and the BBC Concert Orchestra,
John Lenehan, Nigel Clayton, and William Boughton's English String Orchestra.
Lionel's own arrangement for violin and piano of the second of his Two
Cuban Dances was premièred by Tasmin Little and Piers Lane
in 1992, and has since become one of the violinist's frequently played encore
Copyright © 4 August 2002
Keith Bramich, Worcestershire, UK
A REVIEW OF THE LIONEL SAINSBURY PIANO CD
LIONEL SAINSBURY'S WEBPAGE
THE THREE CHOIRS FESTIVAL