Fiery piano recital

Charles Owen, Cratfield Church, August 12THERE have been some fine recitals, in this, the 20th anniversary of Blyth Valley Chamber Music, and Sunday's recital by the pianist Charles Owen who made such a great impression on his first appearance at Cratfield two years ago, was yet another.

Charles Owen, Cratfield Church, August 12

THERE have been some fine recitals, in this, the 20th anniversary of Blyth Valley Chamber Music, and Sunday's recital by the pianist Charles Owen who made such a great impression on his first appearance at Cratfield two years ago, was yet another.

He began with Bach's Italian Concerto, a strong characterfull performance that certainly proved how much more immediate this music sounds on the piano and the harpsichord.

That same muscular playing proved not quite as successful in Schubert. His 16 German dances may not contain his finest piano writing, but they are relaxed music of great charm which Owen didn't quite capture.


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However he was in splendid form in a sympathetic account of Beethoven's E flat sonata Les Adieux. An effected, yet penetrating playing; the andante espressivo beautifully done the opening semi quavers of the vivacissimament absolutely electrifying.

Then came a huge shift from the brilliance of Beethoven to the refined sensibility of Faure. The 13 Nocturnes were composed over a long period and the four which Owen chose covered the years 1883 to 1922, from the gentle sounds of number two to the darker music of the last one.

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They were brilliantly done, and Owen's feeling for the poetry and subtle colours of this music produced the memorable performance of the recital.

Poulenc's Suite Napoli, with is quirky finale full of pianistic fireworks, made a splendid finale.

Frank Cliff

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