Tuesday 6 December 2016

Review: Late romantic and modern worlds collide

Classical: New Ross Festival, St Mary's Church

Pat O'Kelly

Published 30/09/2015 | 07:00

New Ross Festival
New Ross Festival

Celebrating its 10th anniversary in St Mary's Church, the New Ross Piano Festival continues its established pattern of programme diversity and eclectic virtuosi mix.

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I sample two events where the classic, late romantic and contemporary worlds rub shoulder to shoulder.

French pianist Cédric Tiberghien draws all three together through Alban Berg, Mozart and Linda Buckley. With rewarding clarity in the densely scored Berg Op 1 Sonata, his playing is perfectly controlled in power and drama.

Mozart's C minor K 457 Sonata is also clear-cut in brisk attack. Song-like measures hover over a softly drumming bass in the Adagio before the Finale returns to the Allegro's earlier defiance. Mozart and Tiberghien are in mainly feisty mood.

Linked to the on-going Ros Tapestry project, Linda Buckley's William Marshal, the flower of chivalry swings from dirge-like reflections to armour-clashing jousts, credibly aired by the understanding Tiberghien.

Another tapestry première finds Finghin Collins revelling in the sounds and silences of Sam Perkin's The Marriage of William Marshal. Subtitled Nesting Doll, the interesting piece fans out from a simple idea to waves of richly embroidered pianistic phrases.

Changing tack to Schumann, artistic director Collins reveals the indulgent excesses of his Three Fantasy Pieces as well as their more appealing poetic centres.

Eduard Steuermann's piano trio version of Schönberg's Transfigured Night has the Fidelio Trio emotionally intense in this atmospheric post-Wagnerian drama.

The piano may bear the brunt of the beautifully written score but the well-balanced ensemble of Darragh Morgan, Adi Tal and Mary Dullea touches the soul of the music's anguished transformation.

Irish Independent

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