Bartok’s Sonata for Two Pianos & Percussion, Royal Welsh College Piano & Percussion

February 13, 2020 by


The Royal Welsh have had a focus on concerts covering the piano and percussion repertoire. In this afternoon concert with students, they gave a brief concert of new work and an established piece that held up as a fine performance.

Two new pieces were featured in the programme entitled ‘Inspiration & Innovation’. As the Stars Emerge by Chole Beaumont is inspired by a vision of the night’s sky, with the moon hiding behind a set of trees. Heavily influence by minimalist composers, the work had a luscious aspect hard to resit, a breezy mood, stuffed with vitality and charm. Following on from this was Oliwia Radomska’s Ascension and Downfall, a world away in style and execution. Inspired by the films of Kurosawa and Tarkovsky, the piece started with a smattering of Cowell like string piano, with one pianist’s hand on the string and striking the key at the same time. The sound is earthy, clumb-like and very satisfying. A highlight included a percussionist using his hands on a bass drum, the music itself quite sparse though filled with interesting action and opaque delivery. These are both young composer of real talent.

Bartók’s Sonata for Two Pianos & Percussion was a surprise and a delight. The twisted harmonies of the Hungarian composer are never far away, even in the more jolly sequences. The folk music of his land appears to be heard and the relationship between the pianists and percussionists has to be very tight and of course, it was here. There are bonkers moments, the whole thing a strange sort of joyous music, creepy and sensual, ancient yet contemporary. The ‘night music’ of his slow moment is recognisably Bartók, languorous and twinkly. All who played throughout the concert made this an afternoon to cherish, with fine artistry and a budding hunger for the bold and beautiful. We simply have to hear more music like this at the Royal Welsh!

Next afternoon concert at the Royal Welsh College is Anthony Marwood with RWC string soloists on 19th February 2020.

Photo Credit: RWCMD Twitter

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