After taking to the Steinway, Philip joked that he had not had a chance to warm up, and would the audience mind if he did so now? Unsure of what to expect – perhaps scales, arpeggios, maybe some Hanon exercises? – there was a pleasant sigh of recognition as Philip began and the audience were treated to an off-programme performance of Grieg’s Melodie, from the op. 47 Lyric Pieces. The studio was instantly filled with the light, repeated-chords and melancholy melody floating above. A delightful introduction to a programme of larger works.
The programme as advertised opened with the third and central movement of Robert Schumann’s Piano Sonata no. 3, a set of variations on a theme by his wife Clara. The day had special significance, being the 200th anniversary of Clara Schumann’s birth, and at a performance to celebrate the opening of a studio whose existence owed great debt to another musical husband and wife pair – mezzo-soprano Maureen Lehane and composer Peter Wishart.
What followed the was another highly-virtuosic compositon, Busoni’s Kammer-Fantasie on Bizet’s Carmen, delivered with effortless panache and style, glittering as the sun shone on the rose garden in the background behind the piano.
Philip Fowke’s impressive programme was brought to a rousing conclusion with the final work, Chopin’s Heroic Polonaise in A flat major. The audience made quite sure Philip was aware of their gratitude with rapturous applause for his masterful programme.
Join us for our next Open Fridays lunchtime concert at 12:15pm on Friday 20 September, when Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg will be joined by Baritone Owain Browne for a recital of favourite songs and arias accompanied by long-standing Jackdaws accompanist Colin Hunt.