A review by Julia Gasper.A piano recital was given on Monday at the church of St Michael at the North Gate by Tim Smith, a music student at the Birmingham Conservatoire. Tim, from Stanton St John, went to Wheatley Park School and then won a scholarship to study the piano.
He opened his programme with two Bach 2-Part Inventions, in A major and A minor, and then offered a startling contrast with 4 Preludes by Lera Auerbach, a contemporary woman composer who was born in Russia and now lives in the USA. He gave very convincing accounts of these bold and imaginative pieces, enticing the audience to listen to the remaining ones in the set of twenty-four.
This was followed by a stalwart of the repertoire, Beethoven’s Sonata no 13 in B flat, opus 22. It was an impressive performance, now jagged, now ebullient, and now serenely lyrical, with a wide range of expressive effects that were never histrionic. After the fiery and stormy opening movement, the slow movement had a restrained classical elegance, and the difficulties of the last movement were smoothly passed off.
For many of the audience, the climax of this recital was the finale, the three Argentinian Dances by Alberto Ginastera. These virtuoso pieces were played with assurance and panache; all were rhythmically compelling and the last one went out in a blaze of excitement. Tim speaks this Hispanic musical language like a native, he seems to have the temperament, and I have little doubt that his musical future, if it is not in jazz, could and should be in this 20th-century area of the repertoire.
A retiring collection was taken in aid of Oxford Homeless Pathways.
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