Making his Mark with added resonance
Mark Bebbington (piano)
Stover School, Newton Abbot
One performance only
PIANIST Mark Bebbington has almost single-handedly championed the work of 20th-century British piano music, so his decision to open his recital in the current Newton Abbot and District Society of Arts Series with John Ireland's three London Pieces came as no surprise.
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And it is where Mark's studied performance captured each sound-picture to perfection, meticulously attending to every nuance in the writing.
Chopin's final Piano Sonata, in B minor, is a veritable tour de force, and the composer's largest work for solo piano.
Here Mark seemed most at home in the lyrical moments, since in the galloping Finale some of the passage-work appeared less-cleanly delivered, though the extremely resonant acoustic could have largely accounted for this, as well as the obvious limitations of essentially a school instrument.
Mark opened the second half with his own selection of five Debussy Preludes, followed by arguably the recital's highlight, Liszt's transcription of Wagner's Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde.
Again, while the added resonance of a larger piano would have benefitted the performance, Mark skilfully managed the available resources so that the final climax demanded as much as the instrument could offer, but without compromising tonal nicety to any significant degree.
A generous encore of Granados's Andaluza delighted the large and enthusiastic audience.