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Nancy Lee Harper recital of unfamiliar music


The profound influence on Beethoven of Muzio Clementi, composer, pianist and piano maker is evident in every turn in his extensive output of piano sonatas, though these are widely recorded they are less often programmed in recital. So it was a special treat to hear the Sonata in G minor Op 34 No 2 performed with dramatic intensity by Nancy Lee Harper, the Portuguese-based American pianist, the centrepiece of her lunchtime recital at St James' Piccadilly, London UK, on 22 September 2003.

St James' Church, Piccadilly. Photo: Keith Bramich
St James' Church, Piccadilly. Photo: Keith Bramich

The concert, presented by the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe, featured an especially exciting programme of four seldom heard works by famous and less familiar composers. Nancy Lee Harper, who is both an academic and performing musician and currently on the Faculty of the University of Aveiro, Portugal, began with Beethoven's brief Klavierstuck WoO 61a before embarking on one of the most romantic of Clementi's sonatas.

The first movement began with dark foreboding in the Largo e sostenuto and launched into a fiery Allegro con fuoco in which diminished seventh harmonies bolted recklessly and the pithy three quaver upbeat -- downbeat rhythm of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony motto (a common enough feature of Classical style already much used by Haydn) was developed and emphasised with almost orchestral exuberance.

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Copyright © 7 October 2003 Malcolm Miller, London UK


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