“This programme has a lot of notes” was how pianist Danny Driver described his recital. The first half consisted of two short contemporary pieces with Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin sandwiched between them. The pieces were carefully planned and mapped out to create different sound worlds and draw the audience into them. It was clear that the quality of the sounds meant a lot to Danny, and that he was passionate, almost obsessed, with sharing his creation with the audience.
Deidre McKay’s Time, Shining was still; to me it felt like we were placed in a motionless cocoon, but with a mysterious acoustic and serene tone Danny created, as if something was shifting slowly.
What struck me most about Danny’s rendition of Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin was the warmth of tone which cultivated one’s imagination. I loved the sweetness brought out in Menuet and the transition which saw a sudden change of mood and texture to the fast-paced Toccata, in which he maintained the momentum and vivid liveliness of the piece with lots of furious leaps, while keeping the ambiance very tasteful.
Another contemporary piece by female composer Betsy Jolas contrasted the sound world of McKay and Ravel, which saw stillness and motion in intense atonality.
Believe it or not, this was the first time that Breinton has heard Beethoven’s monumental piano Sonata Hammerklavier. When he was rehearsing, Danny was unsure whether the piano lid should be kept completely open or half open, I suppose he was worried about the sheer volume of this piece. In the end, he chose to keep it open for the entire recital – he warmed up to the piano and explored all the possible beautiful colours he could extract from it. His superb pianism was abundantly heard, his deep insight into the music and control meant an excellent articulation which we all appreciated.