Dazzling Lunchtime Piano Recital
A sizeable audience assembled in the Top Refectory for a Lunchtime Piano Recital given entirely from memory by Laura Erel ( Rhetoric 2012 ).
Laura came to the College as a Senior Music Scholar in January 2011 from her previous School and home in Singapore. In a relatively short time, she has established herself as a versatile, talented force to be reckoned with.
The programme began with the Prelude and Fugue in C sharp major from Book One of the 48 Preludes and Fugues by J. S. Bach. Originally written for the harpsichord, the light, dancing one –in -a - bar quality of the Prelude was well balanced with a dignified and stately pacing of the Fugue. Throughout, the phrasing of both the Fugue subject and the regular counter-subject was consistent with the part writing and imitative double and triple counterpoint well brought out with suitably balanced hands and subtle phrasing. The contrast between the paired movements was vivid, clear and distinctive.
Mozart’s Sonata in D K.576 followed. This Sonata was written in Vienna in 1789, two years before Mozart died, when he was arguably at the peak of his compositional output. It dates from the time of The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, The Magic Flute and Symphonies numbers 39 – 41. The sprightly Allegro First Movement with its captivating hunting call motif was most effective in its projection and execution. The second theme was more heartfelt, suitably phrased and shaped, maintaining the classical idiom of variety and contrast within one movement. The Second Movement had a beautiful, singing melodic line which was again, superbly phrased and balanced with the accompaning figures always supporting, but never obscuring the melodic line. The light and playful Rondo which concluded the work, was at times both deft and dramatic, full of varied dynamics and clear articulation and a shining example of how to make this type of movement really sing and come alive.
Mendelssohn, like Mozart was also a child prodigy. Many musicians argue that he reached his compositional peak before he was twenty. His Andante and Rondo Capriccioso in the key of E, bears some resemblances both to the Violin Concerto in E and also the Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Laura conveyed a real and vivid atmosphere throughout the piece. At all times, her playing was really orchestral in its impact, fire and passion and arguably romantic in its variety of tone, texture and balance.
As a finale, Laura chose to play the Third Rhapsody by Dohnanyi. Although written as a set of four Rhapsodies, each can stand on its own. A Rhapsody in the tradition of Liszt, usually implies a one movement work with several sections often hugely different in style, form and content. Dohnanyi had heard Liszt play live and was also a friend of Brahms. This link with other Hungarian masters of the genre was definitely evident in the performance today. The sweeping majesty of the long phrases was balanced by the playful nature of the dancing figures and the command and projection of the bravura style were second to none in their passion and direction.
Laura received rapturous applause from the audience who were spellbound by the virtuosic display of technique and overall musicianship they had witnessed. Rewarded with an encore – the Second Rhapsody in G minor by Brahms - a thunderous ovation followed for a very special and talented young lady who is obviously destined for great things.