Morpeth lunchtime concert, September 13, at St George’s United Reformed Church.
The first midday concert of the 2017 autumn series featured David Murray, a regular visitor to these concerts, who performed a piano recital, with music ranging from 18th century classical through to early 20th century popular shows.
The first piece, an andante by Haydn with variations, was most certainly written in memory of his very close friend Maria Anna von Gezinger, who tragically died suddenly aged only 38.
The grief the composer felt is dramatically demonstrated in the sombre undertones in the darker parts of the composition.
Although Haydn is more noted for his orchestral music — he wrote more than a hundred symphonies — this andante is a most mature and accomplished work.
The sombre mood gives way at times to brighter and happier times, perhaps reflective memories.
David, in a calm and measured way, brought out in a dramatic manner all the various and changing moods to great effect.
There is also a tragic theme running through the three intermezzi by Brahms, which followed.
The dark and sombre mood of the composition is occasionally broken with something more lyrical and bright.
David again rose to the occasion as he brought out the pure drama of the music with skilful and expansive playing. His use of dynamics was most impressive and the magic of Brahms was fully displayed in an exquisite performance.
Debusy’s piano music is renowned worldwide and David’s selection of preludes from his first book proved to be a popular choice, with two dances, two winds, a place and two songs.
The contrasting styles of these preludes provided a delightful musical experience. There are beautiful chords, thrilling moving passages and dramatic themes, which portray Debussy at his very best.
David’s playing was, again, most impressive and a most challenging composition was made to appear easy, so polished and brilliant was the performance.
The final rendering of three songs by George Gershwin was pure nostalgia.
A total contrast to the rest of the programme, these easy to listen to songs provided a fitting conclusion to the concert.
The well-known Melodies of the Man I Love, Liza and I Got Rhythm were fully enjoyed by the audience, and David’s masterful performance enhanced the whole experience.
This was a most successful beginning to the new series of concerts, which was performed by a professional at the height of his musical powers.
The next in the lunchtime concert series will take place on Wednesday, October 11. Violin duettists Abbey Strings will be accompanied by Ken Irvine (piano) in a programme of classical and light music trios and solos. Tickets are £3 at the door. Doors open at noon for a 12.30pm start.