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.