Thursday, January 31, 2013


Composers in Focus at the Cramphorn Theatre

Three pianists, three consecutive evenings. Composers in Focus ended on Sunday, with an impressive recital by Alisdair Hogarth. [The other recitalists were Miyuki Kato and Christopher Weston.]

In Essex we were privileged to hear Alisdair right at the start of his performing career – since then he has gone on to achieve an international reputation, is much in demand as an accompanist, and has formed his own group of young professional singers, The Prince Consort.

In the Cramphorn, he began with a clearly articulated Haydn sonata, played with a compelling narrative drive, especially in the central Adagio. Two delicately melancholy Chopin Waltzes were followed by the dramatic meanderings of the great Polonaise Fantasy.

After a familiar Schubert Impromptu, Hogarth scaled the heights of Liszt's towering B minor Sonata. He gave an intelligent reading of a demanding work, embracing its staggering emotional and intellectual scope, the passionate pyrotechnics and the intense, introspective lyricism.

A wonderful programme, played with a secure technique and not a little stylish sparkle. I was sorry not to have been able to hear the whole series, and especially sorry that this recital was not better attended.

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