Faye Monteith

Piano Sonatas by Ronald Center and David Ward

Saturday 21 September 2019 • 7.30pm
Leith Hall, Kennethmont (map)

Faye Monteith

Faye Monteith with Willie Gilmour

Review by Alan Rogers

Photos by Jane Frere

A capacity audience for a programme of mostly unfamiliar piano works is very encouraging for the organisers and must have been a delight to the performer too. If Faye Monteith was nervous she did well to conceal it completely once seated at the piano.

David Ward's Piano Sonata begins and ends with sublime slow music that reminded me of Debussy and Bill Evans, but there are also sections of quite terrifying violence and exuberant dance. Perhaps the piece is best illustrated by some of the notes I made at the time; "searching – anger, agitation – ecstatic dance from Turangalîla – calm, meditative respite – piano sings – cakewalk interlude – piano workout, no note unused!" I want to hear more of David's piano music. One would think the Schubert Impromptu that followed would be a total contrast, but many similar feelings were evoked; deceptive calm, agitation, anger and more searching.

David Ward

David Ward introduces his Piano Sonata

The interval must have been spent resting the fingers because there was no sign of fatigue in Ronald Center's Piano Sonata. Folk-like snatches of melody mixed with modernist chords, Stravinskian violence, a terrifying march, a hymn-like episode, a scurrying scherzo and an ending that is almost thrown away. It made me smile because it was such fun to listen to and I think Faye has taken the work to heart; she played it from memory. Chopin's Waltz Op. 64 No. 2 was played with a singing, expressive commitment, without any sense of fatigue after all that had gone before. Lastly came Scottish Tunes by Faye's first piano teacher and page-turner for the night, Willie Gilmour, who explained that they were harmonisations rather than arrangements. They sounded to me very like the way an improvising genius like Keith Jarrett would have treated them, perhaps that's why I liked them so much.

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