Belfast Telegraph

Review: Mature performance by rising star

CLANDEBOYE FESTIVAL: LUNCHTIME CONCERT Clandeboye Estate, Bangor

By Terry Blain

Young pianists often hammer Beethoven into submission, over-emphasising the pugnacious energies in the music, and making it seem self-consciously attention-seeking.

Not Gary Beecher: the young Irishman is already a more subtle, sophisticated player than that.

So while the thunderous outbursts in the Scherzo of Beethoven's Op 31, No 3 sonata were properly explosive, they weren't used crudely as the aural equivalent of an ice bucket challenge, to shock the unsuspecting listener.

The opening movement was ideally paced, with neatly clipped articulation and a chirpy attitude.

The same astute feeling for emotional temperature informed the genial Menuetto, where Beecher's realisation of Beethoven's "moderato e grazioso" marking was pitch-perfect.

In Liszt's Dante Sonata Beecher's marshalling of the huge sonorities demanded by the piece bespoke a maturity of both technique and interpretive outlook rare in a 21-year-old player.

Beecher included Comet, a short work by fellow Corkman Sam Perkin, in his programme.

Referencing Liszt in its cascading flurries of notes high on the keyboard, and Messiaen in its mystical, resonating suspensions, the piece was strikingly successful and fully distinctive.

It drew a galvanising performance from Beecher, whom I suspect we will be hearing a lot more of in the future.

Belfast Telegraph

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