Nicholas sustains standard

Pianist Nicholas Nowicki, who performed at the St George's URC Lunchtime Concert.
Pianist Nicholas Nowicki, who performed at the St George's URC Lunchtime Concert.

The St George’s URC Lunchtime Concerts continue to maintain the high standards which their patrons have come to expect.

At the latest event, a large audience enjoyed a fine piano recital by local concert pianist Nicholas Nowicki.

He commenced his programme with Beethoven’s 8 th Sonata in C Minor, the ‘Sonata Pathetique’.

It is always difficult to perform well-known pieces where the audience will have pre-conceived expectations, but from the opening chords, Nicholas’ fine technique demonstrated his mastery of this famous work, moving from mood to contrasting mood with agility and confidence with pauses within the movement timed to perfection.

The second movement is regarded as one of Beethoven’s finest melodies and Nicholas did not disappoint with beautifully clean playing holding the audience in thrall.

The final ‘jolly’ rondo, very different in character to the first two movements, demonstrated a sense of fun in this well executed performance ending with a dazzling ‘Sforzando’.

From Beethoven to the ‘Blues’, Nicholas proved himself fully at home in both genres.

The first chord of Gershwin’s 2nd Prelude transported us back to the 1920s. The following Prelude in B Flat Major, with its syncopated rhythms based on the Brazilian ‘baiao’, brought out the jazz idiom perfectly to the delight of the audience.

Brahms’ Four Piano pieces Opus 119 were the last written for piano by this composer.

The first two ‘intermezzo’s’ demonstrate the feeling of melancholia which Brahms was experiencing at the time.

In the first, Nicholas, moving slowly from chord to chord, evoked this sense of despair. In the second, the underlying sadness of the passionate melody brought with it expectation of a brighter future.

Intermezzo 3 has a capricious change of mood in C Major and there was some dazzling finger work from the soloist.

The final ‘rhapsody’ brought an assertive fanfare opening followed by a more reflective mood which contained intended moments of musical ‘chaos’.

Nicholas brought the rhapsody to a thunderous conclusion in the final coda.

His mastery of the varying moods of these pieces was evident in the audiences’ sustained applause.