Charles Whitehead Pianists of the World Series at St Martin’s

Charles Whitehead Pianists of the World Series at St Martin’s
Charles Whitehead at St Martin in the Fields
Some very assured playing from this American based pianist.
A luminosity of sound in the Scriabin 5th sonata ignited the atmosphere with a sensual sense of colour with great rhythmic impetus and chiselled sounds of great purity.
It was the clarity and purity of sounds together with a great sense of line that suited so well the fourth of Shostakovich`s Preludes and Fugues.A passionate almost obsessive climax to the fugue was very impressive if rather monochromatic.
Lovely to read in the programme of our adored Tatiana Nikolaeva who had been the inspiration for Shostakovich`s monumental 24 Preludes and Fugues when he heard her play in 1950 in the Leipzig J.S.Bach Centennial.
It was exactly this chiselled clarity that suited so well Messiaen’s expression of faith in the” Contemplation of the Son,the Word of God,looks upon the Son,the child Jesus.”
Sounds that wafted into the heights of this great edifice with pungent accuracy and insistence.
Wonderfully moving ending as the sounds gradually dispersed into oblivion.
The fifth of Messiaen`s twenty musical portraits of Christ child written in 1944,shortly before the liberation of Paris from the German occupation, are inspired expressions of his deep Catholic faith.
After this declaration of faith Liszt`s Spanish Rhapsody seemed rather too careful and laboured and could have been dispatched with more sense of improvisation and carnal enjoyment instead of rock solid reverence.
He paid the price forced to a hasty retreat at the end which he covered like the great professional he obviously is.
An ovation was offered by a public totally convinced and numerously gathered together to enjoy an hour`s respite from the confusion outside.
“Christmas is a comin!”
Only two months away today.

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