A recital by Helen Reid
impresses MIKE WHEELER
Helen Reid may not be a starry name among the present young generation of British pianists, but she combines eloquent playing with a refreshingly imaginative and intelligent approach to programme-building (Derby Chamber Music, Multi-Faith Centre, Derby University, 14 November 2009).
She began with a performance of Janácek's In the mists notable for the delicately understated longing of the first movement, and the clarity she brought to the rich textures of No 4.
Cecilia McDowall's Colour is the Keyboard was commissioned by Reid as part of a project exploring links between music and colour. It moves from rhythmically pounding bass figures, through vigorous toccata to calm ending, in which Reid brought out a radiant, shining quality.
Her reading of Schumann's Faschingschwank aus Wien found a lithe springiness in the opening movement, inwardness, crisp humour and warmth, by turns, in the central ones, and appeared to throw off the virtuoso demands of the finale, particularly the cross-hand passages, with an air of nonchalant ease.
That same combination of light touch and firm purpose informed her account of Beethoven's Sonata Op 110. The blunt humour of the second movement was vigorously dispatched, and through the cumulative power of the finale's two fugues gradations of tone were precisely weighted.
Two Debussy pieces ended the advertised part of the programme, with Reid bringing beautifully subtle shadings to his early Nocturne, and finding an infectiously playful air in L'isle joyeuse.
Copyright © 22 November 2009 Mike Wheeler,