It is a real treat to perform right by the sea. All Saints Church is a beautiful Grade 1 listed building, one of the largest of the 19th century Gothic revival. For more information please go to: History of All Saints Church. In addition to its September Jazz festival, they also run classical recital series every Thursday throughout May to October.
I was delighted to be invited to perform here and have the chance to spend few days in Brighton, especially since the weather has been wonderful.
I started the concert with Barber’s Excursion n.1. After learning Barber’s Sonata a few years ago, I decided to take a look at some of his other pieces and I found Excursions to be very enjoyable to perform. It is also nice to introduce the audience to the piano works by Barber as they mostly know him from the Adagio for strings. The Excursions are sourced on the American folk songs and n.1 is a boogie-woogie which mirrors the sounds of a steam engine. I remember reading about Barber a while back and learning about his struggle to be accepted as an American contemporary composer and this quote of his is one of my favourites: Composers feel they must have a new style every year. This, in my case, would be hopeless. …I just go on doing, as they say, ‘my thing’. I believe this takes a certain courage.
Since it was Debussy’s birthday just about a week or so before my concert, I also performed two of his preludes: The Footsteps on the Snow (Des Pas sur la Neige) and the Fireworks (Feux d’artifice). Every time I work on Debussy’s pieces I am reminded how important it is to study Debussy’s works for the pianists’ development. I can’t imagine a better example where the work on the sound is so imperative as in the Feux d’artifice and other Debussy’s works. It takes quite a lot of practice to create this soft bed of sounds above which you have to build the sparks. Even the flashy passages have to be so clear and I can’t imagine my playing in general without the many hours spent in perfecting this kind of sound and technique.
I decided to stay in Brighton for a few days after the concert. The place is beautiful and if you happen to be there here are a few of my recommendations. The Brighton Pier is always fun, but I quite enjoyed going further into town and visiting the Royal Pavilion. For dinner I went at Jamie’s Italian and I strongly recommend the Beautiful Bruschetta, which tasted even better than it looked. And for entertainment in Brighton there is no better place than the Komedia where they have a great line up for most of the week. If you like to take a souvenir with you, look at the Villa and Hut – Bowl Shop I’m sure you will be able to find something for your home in there!