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Piano sonority

Lydia Scadding wins the 2004 Beethoven
Junior Intercollegiate Piano Competition,
reported by MALCOLM MILLER


Beethoven's birthday, 16 December (2004), was an ideal date to hold a feast of his music, played by the younger generation of promising pianists, at the 2004 Beethoven Junior Intercollegiate Piano Competition presented by the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe. The winner on this occasion was Lydia Scadding, a pupil at Wells Cathedral School.

The competition, held at the Austrian Cultural Forum in London and sponsored generously by Alfred Publishing, was adjudicated by Angela Brownridge and Kenneth van Barthold and attracted six talented young pianists from various junior music schools around the UK. All competitors performed the compulsory work, Beethoven's Bagatelle Op 33 no 4 in A, and a sonata or sonata movement of their choice. Lydia Scadding gave a forthright account of the sonata Op 81a, with a very effective transition to the finale and an expressive second movement. There were plenty of brilliant dynamic contrasts, a sense of momentum and expressive tempo. Her dexterity in passagework was matched by a good sense of the piano sonority and clarity of counterpoint.

Second prize went to Shio Osaki of the Junior Royal Academy of Music, for her very mature and moving rendition of the sonata in E Op 109. Her interpretation was always clear in texture, with an inner calm and beautiful delicacy in the variations, which built towards a thrilling climax. This was professional standard which, as observed by Angela Brownridge, was characteristic of the competition as a whole: it was all very high standard; all had been chosen by their institutions, a credit in itself, and all did very well. Kenneth van Barthold underlined that whereas in the past one would look abroad for such well prepared performances, this certainly matched any competition around the world.

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Copyright © 10 February 2005 Malcolm Miller, London UK


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