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Deeply Satisfying

A piano recital by Jane Ford,
reviewed by MIKE WHEELER


This was not only an evening of superb piano playing, it was also a master-class in programme-building. A network of connections -- water imagery, the grand virtuoso tradition, pieces with a particular way of exploiting the piano's bass register -- bound together what might, at first glance, have seemed a fairly disparate group of composers.

Jane Ford made a fairly restrained start to Mozart's C minor Sonata, K457, which allowed the underlying tensions to simmer away in their own good time. There was a powerful sense of concentration in the slow movement.

Her crisp finger work ensured real clarity in the opening of Liszt's Ballade No 2, instead of the undifferentiated subterranean rumbling we sometimes get, while the climax was not just a big virtuoso splash, it made musical sense, too.

Rachmaninov's B flat Prelude Op 23 No 2, full of finely graded and controlled dynamics, was followed by one of the most extrovert readings of Ravel's Jeux d'Eau I think I've heard.

Ford brought a compelling dramatic sense to Ronald Stevenson's Peter Grimes Fantasy, presenting familiar themes from the opera in a new and unsuspected light. The four Preludes by the sadly short-lived Janet Owen Thomas showed her powerful command of keyboard technique, to which Ford did full justice. Memory Gongs, based on a repeated falling phrase with which Thomas out-Arvo Pärts Arvo Pärt, was particularly spellbinding.

Jane Ford
Jane Ford

Chopin's Fourth Ballade, its varied moods welded into a seamless whole by Ford's intelligent shaping, brought the evening to a deeply satisfying end.

Copyright © 22 February 2006 Mike Wheeler, Derby UK


Jane Ford gave her Derby Chamber Music recital on 17 February 2006 at Cedar Park Arts Centre, Murray Park School, Mickleover, Derby, UK.


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