22nd September 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Mesmeric Neil’s day and night star show

Neil Georgeson, Town Hall, Sunday, June 29.
BY Ruth Webster

IT WOULD have been easy for Neil Georgeson to adorn his latest very welcome homecoming piano recital entirely with favourite compositions from the likes of Bach, Chopin and Liszt.

But the programme on Sunday challenged those who attended with less familiar work by George Crumb, Patrick Nunn and Alasdair Nicholson. Yet the superb juxta­position of the different pieces, themed around day and night, made for a genuinely exciting concert.

Neil’s interpretation of Three Movements from Stravinsky’s Pet­rushka was at once exhilarating and technically flawless, and con­veyed both the tragedy of Petru­skha’s longing and the vitality of the St Petersburg fair in all its colour.

After the interval, Neil took us on a journey into space, alternating movements from Crumb’s Makro­cosmos and Nunn’s Music of the Spheres. Designed to push the piano to its limits, the Makrocosmos calls on the pianist to lean over the piano and pluck the strings as well as use the keyboard.

The effect was a mesmeric listening experience that, together with Nunn’s Spheres (which in­clude the actual sounds of solar winds and the ionosphere of the outer planets), was ethereal. To gain the full effect of the “journey”, one had to close one’s eyes.

It is impossible to exaggerate the quality of Neil’s playing; his success is richly deserved, and Shetland is lucky to boast such an exceptional talent.