Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Lunchtime concert at St Pancras Parish Church

Piano and flute, yet again: a favourite combination for church recitals. One of the nice things about these concerts is being able to sit up front if you want to, seeing what's going on as well as hearing the music. The musicians sitting rigidly still or swaying to keep time, the contrast between delicate, complex fretting movements of the fingers, and the pianist hammering vigourously on the keys in the loud parts, then a hand poised in readiness for what comes next while the other hand plays alone - partly mechanics, partly deliberate dramatisation of the music, perhaps also the performers' unconscious expression of their involvement in playing it. Russian pianist Pavel Timofejevsky and Japanese flautist Kiyoka Ohara played chamber music pieces with the flute dominating, or perhaps I should say providing the leading expressive voice against the piano backdrop. A mixed programme: CPE Bach (son of JS) was forgettable but the rest was better. Schubert's "Arpeggione" sonata, Saint-Saens' Romance for Flute and Piano, and two of Roland Revell's delicate Trois Pensées - which seem to be completely unavailable as a recording, only as sheet music.

On this occasion I got a seat in the front row and took a photograph during one of the breaks for applause. It's the only time I've taken a camera - it's rather bad manners, as well as detracting from intent listening, which is really the only way to appreciate classical music - but just for once I wanted to capture the two performers, the Yamaha grand piano, the amazing spiral stair up to the pulpit and an equally amazing driftwood figure of Christ on the cross, in the background. Here it is.

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