Review – Emmanuel Despax at Tickhill St Mary’s Primary School

by Adrian Hattrell – Concert secretary, Tickhill Music Society

Emmanuel Despax

TICKHILL MUSIC SOCIETY: Emmanuel Despax in performance (March 8)
at St Mary’s Primary School, Tickhill

A PIANO recital at Tickhill Music Society always attracts a good audience, and the recent performance by the young French pianist Emmanuel Despax was no exception.

Parisian by birth, but resident in England from a young age, he presented a programme of monumental works from the 19th century, starting with Prélude, Choral et Fugue by Cesar Franck.

This is a challenging piece, written by an organist for the piano, and requiring the performer to execute a great deal of work with left hand crossed over right.

Despite resembling a test piece, this was carried off with apparent ease.

The Franck was followed by a piece in similar mould by Franz Liszt, Après une lecture du Dante: Fantasia quasi Sonata.

A torrent of notes was navigated effortlessly, and the contrasting quiet passages were treated delicately.

The second half was occupied by a single work, Schubert’s B flat Sonata, composed a month or two before his death.

This was more familiar territory for the audience, and presented a safe haven after the storms of the first half.

Emmanuel played with calm mastery and received deserving applause for a commanding performance.

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