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The second half featured three of Debussy's Images, delicately translucent and evocatively coloured. 'Les Cloches a travers les Feuilles' drew ravishing textures from the patterns of scales rising at different rates, while the whole tone harmonies, and parallel chords over sustained pedals in 'Et la Lune descend sur le Temple qui fut' conveyed a mystique and magic of its own. 'Poissons d'or' glistened in its shimmering textures. Bernard Roberts told the amusing anecdote of being greeted after a performance by Frank Merrick, then at an advanced age, who claimed he had given the première of that piece at the Wigmore Hall in the first decade of the twentieth century, when a critic had compared it to 'well-fed turbot'!

To conclude we were regaled with beautifully sculpted patterns of Brahms' Op 119 with touching intimacy in the initial two slow intermezzi. As in the Debussy, the layering of texture brought chiarascuro to the music, the melody highlighted through the limpid falling thirds of the first and the pulsating chords of the second, with its emotive central interlude. In the brighter, ebullient Intermezzo in C and final Rhapsody Roberts' bravura was projected with panache, the pointed codetta truly Brahmsian in clarity and majesty.

A lullaby-like Intermezzo proved an ideal encore, again affirming Bernard Roberts' warmth and communicability, qualities which make him one of the most respected 'pianists' pianists', his performances and recordings still deserving of far wider international exposure and recognition.

Copyright © 31 October 2002 Malcolm Miller, London, UK


Concerts in the 2002/3 season (all at 3pm, with five pound tickets at the door):

24 November, Anja Rossau, soprano, David Smith, piano: Haydn, Mozart, Schumann, Puccini, Donizetti, Bizet, Schumann

15 December, Tonalia Trio, Beethoven Piano Trios

19 January Dominic Harlan, Children's Concert (3 pounds)

9 February Mark Swartzentruber, piano, Sonatas by Haydn and Schubert

9 March , Maria Zachariadou, cello, Richard Shaw, piano, Brahms, Prokofiev, Schumann

27 April, Nick Lea & Simon Davies, Guitar Duo, Rodrigo, Scarlatti

25 May, Fidelio Quartet, Mozart & Faure piano Quartets

Glenilla Arts Foundation, The Church of The Christian Community, 34 Glenilla Road, London NW3, United Kingdom


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