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BILL NEWMAN enjoys an evening's entertainment
by Piano 40 at London's Purcell Room,
Wednesday 5 February 2003


To coin a favourite ditty from the late 30s-early 40s: 'If you go down to the PR tonight, you're in for a nice surprise'! Close friend and colleague Nadia Lasserson, one of four pianists who make up Piano 40 -- the others are Jeremy Brown, Helen Cawthorne and Richard Deering (who also compered) -- told me some time back that their next event would be something of an improvement on the last. Exactly so. With just one personnel change, the ensemble's overall sound is tighter, more compact, with cleaner, more fluent voicings and a newly discovered confidence in their already considerable abilities to communicate both old and new repertoire to an ever-appreciative audience.

Piano 40
Piano 40

For listeners, the beaming presence of the composer is an added incentive to what they have just heard, but I continually wonder what opportunities many have for repeat hearings when faced with the circumscribed opinions of so-called experts who rule the television and radio broadcasting airwaves. If you can write a good tune, you are immediately suspect, and if you model -- however discretely -- your style on any past composer or a trend of musical development from another century, you are deemed 'out of fashion'.

Thankfully, more worthwhile composers with their consistent attempts to avoid 'musical' comparisons with 'life as it is, now ' tempered by 'wholesale annihilation in the near future', are slowly making their mark on the entertainment scene.

Judging by the response they received, both creators and interpreters at Piano 40 events can feel proud of establishing a rapport and degree of excellence that augers well for all future get-togethers. A CD will also be forthcoming.

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Copyright © 11 February 2003 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK


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