Her programme seemed as if it was designed specially for Breinton. Pianist Clare Hammond gave the Breinton audience a perfect musical evening featuring the works of composers ranging over four centuries.
The programme began with Brahms's transcription of Chaconne, undoubtedly Bach's most masterful and powerful unaccompanied violin composition. Transcribed in this version for the left hand only, it was meant to be a study rather than a concert piece. However as David Mather wrote in the programme note, "while it may properly belong in the practice room, it makes an interesting curio for the concert hall". Exactly right; I think the whole audience was curious and looking forward to hearing this challenging piece of work. The seemingly impossible spread of chords and enlarged harmonies were managed excellently, together with effective pedalling work, and her control over the big leaps covering the wide physical distances was strong. I also enjoyed the beautifully voiced melodies. This transcription is so different from the original Chaconne of course, but it is the one with which you feel the romantic composer Brahms' homage to Bach.
The three pieces from Felix Mendelssohn's Songs without Words were absolutely lovely. No words are needed to describe the beauty of music – full of tenderness and intimacy, it was heart-touching. Clare reached out to the audience through sharing them.
Schubert's 'little' A major Sonata followed. It was serene and dreamy with a hint of melancholy underneath, exactly as Clare described it prior to performing. All the movements were beautiful, but I particularly loved the second movement. I think the succession of beautiful chords were heavenly with a soul cleansing effect.
The second half started with a light hearted Mozart Variation in C; a refreshing breeze for the recital room before moving onto Erik Satie. With Gnossiennes, Clare lead us into a magical, mysterious and atmospherically haunting world which we had not experienced in any of our past recitals. She ticked all the right boxes – the sensitive keyboard touch, perfect volume and pace, well controlled dynamics with suited tones and intuitive interpretation.
Another left-hand piece, Scriabin's Prelude and Nocturne followed. It was incredibly moving; what gorgeous music, so sonorous and lyrical. It lingered and melted into the atmosphere - this nocturnal piece seemed perfect for the warm, peaceful spring evening we had on Saturday.
Danzas Argentinas by Alberto Ginastera, with drastic changes and surprises, drew an exciting finish to this wonderful recital. Three dances, based on the folksongs and rhythms of the composer's native land Argentina brought a complete different side of Clare and her artistic and technical aspect. We enjoyed the spikiness and speed of the first dance Dance of the Old Herdsman, while the second one Dance of the Beautiful Maiden was gentle and mellow. The third, Dance of the Arrogant Cowboy, was wild and attacking, it was so much fun to speculate and listen to.
The encore was Chopin's etude Op. 25 No. 7 "Cello", a gorgeous piece with the prominent melody played in the left hand. Her left hand must need a good rest nowâ€¦â€¦
Clare included two left handed pieces in her programme. Naturally you'd wonder if she was left handed, wouldn't you? The answer is 'No' - she says she just loves these pieces so much. And of course that is the right reason to include them in her repertoire.