Magazine article Musical Opinion

Gary Preston in the Purcell Room

Magazine article Musical Opinion

Gary Preston in the Purcell Room

Article excerpt

GARY PRESTON IN THE PURCELL ROOM

Any pianist would be delighted to have their audience on their side before playing a note of a recital and Gary Preston's audience at the Purcell Room on 8 March was with him even before he sat down at the keyboard for this, his London debut Recital. His warm and friendly personality was demonstrated in his friendly chats between items, and he also has a disarmingly quirky sense of humour. The atmosphere of this concert was very much that of a homely get-together with friends.

The recital opened with Erik Satie's Sonatine Bureaucratique, continued with Chopin's Nocturne in F sharp Opus 13 No 2, his Third Scherzo and three Preludes and an arrangement for Piano Solo of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue while after the interval came Liszt's great B minor Sonata.

Speed is always relative and one of the golden rules of public performance is to choose tempi within which framework one can articulate all the technical problems without apparent stress or strain thereby allowing our musical ideas and arguments the best possible chance of projection and communication. Stress tightens the muscles and inevitably leads to inaccuracy; and it hampers tone and fluid articulation. It was understandable that, at this debut recital Gary Preston felt the stress of performance.

Modern grand pianos have wonderful acoustic qualities and in a hall with such a dry acoustic as that of the Purcell Room judicious use of the pedal can help that acoustic. One of the most obvious differences in pianistic technique between so-called classical and jazz idioms is the use of the sustaining pedal. …

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