Concerts in the West, Matthew Drinkwater, piano, Ilminster Meeting House

artofDrinkwaterMATTHEW’s short tour of the South West resulted in a wonderful series of concerts, by a pianist who engages his audience by the dynamism of his playing and by his intense musicality.

Not every player should open a recital with a sonata by Mozart, but Matthew, by exquisite phrasing and positive delivery was totally convincing from the start. In Mozart’s Sonata in B flat major K281, its amoroso slow movement was beautifully done, and without a hint of sentimentality.

Brahms’s Six Piano Pieces Op 118 are late works. They received performances to match emotions within the pieces ranging from near hysteria to near impressionism. By contrast, late works by Schubert – the last three of his Moments Musicaux – were realised as gems of early Romanticism.

But the most original choice came with the 30-minute long Eroica Variations and Fugue by Beethoven, a stupendous work but rarely programmed. The variety of ways that the variations follow each other, the dynamic contrasts throughout, and the wicked humour generated, required concentrated listening to appreciate its twists and turns.

One yearns to hear Matthew playing again. But after ten strenuous years he is deliberately taking a break. We shall look forward, patiently, to his return.

Anthony Pither

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