<< -- 2 -- Malcolm Miller COMMANDING PERFORMANCES
The Scarlatti sonatas which opened the recital flowed with delicacy and expression, the two part textures always lucid, with exquisite balancing of suspensions in the B minor sonata and an ebullient bristling edge to the C major sonata, with its witty leaping melody. Schumann's Sonata in G minor Op 22 took us on a broader musical journey. The passionate first movement was full textured and richly coloured, yet translucent, so that the ostinato patterns, of broken chords and subtly changing harmonies, could always be audible beneath the throbbing melodic lines above. The rhythmic impetus never waned, and there were always nuances of rubato and emphasis to point up the romantic vision. The slow movement, with its gently pulsating chordal layer and poignant melodic rhetoric, was, in its restrained emotion and simplicity, especially enthralling, Valerie Tryon's voicing ingeniously conceived to shape the expression at every turn. The finale swirled with vital, yet controlled energy.
The concert moved to its climax in the commanding performances of several works by Chopin in the second half. Here one sensed an artistic spirit entirely at ease allowing the music to find its own impetus and yearning expression. The Fantaisie in F minor flowed with riveting passion and propulsion. The architecture was always clear, but each new section had renewed purpose, with a resilient and singing tone to the piano, a Steinway which once belonged to the great pianist Malcuzinski. Of the three Mazurkas, the first was most fantaisie-like, Op 33 No 2, while there was more melancholy nostalgia in Op 63 No 3 and a brighter upbeat conclusion in Op 50 No 3. The Barcarolle in F sharp major conveyed its gentler lilt, with compelling presence of tone while the Polonaise in A flat gained in freshness with a crystalline attack and exciting dynamics that emanated from within the music. With no visible effort in any of the rapid octave passages in either hand, this was a memorable account that built in tension and power towards its final jubilant cadence, proving Valerie Tryon a true virtuoso of the highest calibre. Only the calmer miniature by Grieg, To the Spring, allowed one to regain a moment of tranquillity in which to fully appreciate, in this peaceful encore, the thrilling experience of the recital as a whole.