Llŷr Williams has featured heavily at the Royal Welsh the past few years, which exciting concerts of Beethoven and Schubert. Through these recitals, this Welsh gentleman of the piano has been proving his might.
It take very little for me to hear Schubert live, yet missing all but this final concert, is a guilt trip I must endure. We heard some of the great German’s last sonatas and highlights from his acclaimed Winter Songs. Within the Piano Sonata in A Minor, we hear Llŷr take over the piano with his sublime majesty. Never afraid to sway, look towards the audience or gesticulate the hand not playing, he bring a stellar charge between musician and composer, something which I’ve seen him do with Wagner as well. The tenderness, the affirming bouts of strength along with guile and the insecurity within the notes, is made all the more wonderful by this genius of a musician.
Selection from the Winter Songs, (transcribed for piano by Liszt) were a delight. Though the dower music is a misery fest, we hear two highlights form the first set from the song cycle. Liszt did a bang up job stripping away the words and fusing the vocal line into the piano. Die Post is excitable as the character in the poem hope he gets a letter from his love, though still lingers like tears. Der Lindenbaum is most people favourite song and here we get all the loved up joy, though mostly a bitter-sweet affair. The flutter of notes which begin usually entrance and the use of pedal work here can make or break this passage, which also returns for the end. Being transposed throughout the whole movement these notes appear to hark back to the happier time of the poetic character. The nostalgia evoked is masterful.
The Piano Sonata in Bb Major, starts with a huge opening movement, featuring more aching melodies and rolling bass chords. This being one of Schubert last works, its made all the more special by Llŷr’s deeply rooted, empathy for the composer he brings to life. This Germanic music, though miserable, is occasionally chipper and whimsical, with little of clunky tone shift. The new melodies which replace the old in this sonata, are haunting and easily make for resignation in one’s soul.
These special concerts are the must have Cardiff experience.
Llŷr Williams returns to the Royal Welsh College with the Pictures in Music series, starting on 2nd May 2019, with Debussy’s Preludes Book 1 & a selection of Grieg’s Lyric Pieces.
Photo Credit: Royal Welsh College Website