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Review by Terry Keeler
DUNCAN HONEYBOURNE - PIANO
Templewood, Northrepps 29th March 2015

The majestic energy of Franz Lisztís Sonnetto 104 del Petrarca, being the first item on the programme - engulfed the Music Room at Templewood with such power that I understand why it is said that Liszt could destroy the piano more easily with his fingers alone! Thankfully, the modern instruments are made to withstand this almost aggressive style of which I am sure Liszt would have approved.

Robert Schumannís Widmung, transcribed by Liszt as a present to Clara Wieck-Schumannís wife - the transcription being in true Liszt style, powerful, articulate, with some beautiful melodic passages, played with a deep cantabile touch enhanced by well judged rubato phrasing.

Ballade, and Sonata in C sharp minor by local composer Geoff Cummings-Knight, was impressive in the lyrical and romantic textures: the Sonata consisting of 21 fragments broke away from the normal sonata form - and without any melodic line, was explorative in content, requiring much skill and technical expertise which were well within Honeybourneís ability as he coped with the many diverse demands. This composition called for the audience to envisage their own effect and opinion regarding the musical pictures of which this piece had many.

Stalham River (Ballade for Piano) by Ernest John Moeran captured the meaning of its title.

The major work in the programme - Chopinís Sonata in B minor, op 58, being the last of the three Sonatas he wrote, having four movements - Allegro, Scherzo: molto vivace, Largo and Finale: Presto non tanto. Here Duncan Honeybourne was at his very best in that the artist has to possess a flawless technique, an innate sense of interpretation and virtuosotic ability of which he certainly had.

After prolonged applause from the many in the audience, Honeybourne gave a most beautiful performance of Schumannís Traumerei from Scenes of Childhood. Such sensitive playing - and in contrast to all the tempestuous and strong emotions that had gone before.

Terry Keeler
Tel 01263 513273