Family impressed at piano concert

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Diana Swann from Portsmouth Music Club looks back at most recent concerts and tells us what’s in store for the rest of November

Rose, 13, Malcolm, 15, and Callum, 16, each gave a mini-recital ranging from Haydn through Chopin, Scriabin, Bartok, Liszt and Prokofiev and their parents combined in Ravel’s enchanting Mother Goose Suite for piano duet.

The second half moved into virtuoso territory with Murray’s riveting and splendidly characterised performance of all 12 Debussy Etudes.

We felt genuinely privileged to enjoy such an extraordinary array of pianistic talent at various stages of development to complete mastery.

It is so exciting for the club when we give a performance opportunity, as on October 10 to a young pianist who is clearly on his way up the professional ladder. Matthew Drinkwater gave us an honest, mature performance of real individuality of works whose stature eludes far older pianists. His Papillons was imaginatively wayward and evocative and his Brahms Op 118 subtle and beautifully differentiated. He unleashed a stunning virtuosity and drama in Liszt’s Vallée d’Obermann and closed with a magisterial performance of Beethoven’s late Op 110 sonata.

Each song from rising young mezzo-soprano Suzie Purkis and her distinguished pianist Simon Nicholls at their October concert had the vivid characterisation of a mini-opera. Her engaging personality was more than matched by her rich supple voice, and riveting stage presence.

We have more excitement to come on November 14 when well-known local pianist Valentina Seferinova presents a programme of Schubert/Prokofiev waltz arrangements, Brahms, Shostakovitch Tchaikovsky and Scriabin. Then on November 28, international concert pianist James Lisney returns to the club with a rarity: the extraordinary Tennyson melodrama Enoch Arden narrated by Diana Swann against Richard Strauss’ piano accompaniment.

It is such a poignant story that when James and Diana performed this work at the Hindhead Summer School in July, the audience were reduced to tears.

All concerts are held at Portsmouth Grammar School’s Rotunda at 7.30pm. Ring Diana Swann for more details on (023) 9282 0317.