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Frank Bridge: Selected Music For Solo Piano

A book of pieces chosen and introduced by Simon.

Sample Recital 1 - Full Length

Schumann - Arabesque op.18
Faure - Capriccio op.84 no.1 - Nocturne in E Flat minor op.33 no.1 - Trois
Romances sans paroles op.17 no.2
Chopin - Fantasy in F Minor op.49 - Ballade no.3 op.47

Ravel - Sonatine
Schumann - Faschingsschwank aus Wien op.26

Sample Recital 2 - Full Length

Liszt - Eclogue (from Annees de Pelerinage bk1)
Mozart - Fantasia in C Minor K475
Schumann - Fantasiestuck op.12

Bach/Busoni - Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr
Bach/Grainger - Blithe Bells
Bach/Hess - Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
Beethoven - Sonata in C Minor op.111

Sample Recital 3 - Full Length

Beethoven - Sonata in C Major op.2 no.3
Beethoven - Sonata in E Flat Major op.81a (Les Adieux)

Beethoven - Sonata in A Flat Major op.26
Sonata in F Minor op.57 "Appassionata"

Sample Recital 4 - 50 Minutes

Bach - "Goldberg" Variations BWV 988

Sample Recital 5 - 1 Hour

Haydn - Sonata in F Major Hob.XVI:23
Beethoven - Andante favori in F WoO57
Liszt - Sonata in B Minor S178/R21

Press review - Julian Jacobson


Simon Watterton gives a lunchtime recital in London, heard by JULIAN JACOBSON

On Good Friday, 2 April 2010, the young British pianist Simon Watterton gave a fine lunchtime recital at London's Regent Hall for the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe. His artfully chosen programme opened with Handel, whom Beethoven himself considered the greatest of all composers, then took a detour via the Belfast-born British composer Howard Ferguson's Five Bagatelles before culminating in Beethoven's late A flat Sonata, Op 110.

If pianists bother at all with Handel nowadays it is usually only to play the little B flat piece on which Brahms based his mighty Variations and Fugue. How nice, therefore, to hear a whole suite, designated as No 6 in G minor (HWV 439) and coming up in Watterton's hands as fresh as a daisy (piece) and as clean as a whistle (performance). The pianist was not afraid to use the full resources of Regent Hall's fine Steinway grand, yet he never stepped out of style or scale: indeed he produced one the best-judged sonorities I have ever heard in the hall's sometimes tricky acoustics. His playing was mercifully free of posturing, exaggerated cantabile or rubato: intelligent, well-paced and robustly good-humoured, this was a treat.

Ferguson's Five Bagatelles date from 1944 and were championed by Dame Myra Hess. Each based on a five-note formula, these quirky and characterful miniatures also received a thoughtful and polished performance with well varied touch, always in the service of the music. But here I rather missed that quirkiness, implicit in the title 'bagatelle', and perhaps a certain Irish whimsy: Watterton, like many young pianists, appears to do serious rather better than frivolous (or at any rate fanciful) at the moment.

Beethoven's profound late sonatas can certainly take "serious". There were many fine qualities in Watterton's performance, and always a feeling that he knew what the piece is about (perhaps not surprising from a pianist who has already played the entire cycle of 32). The finale came off best, with a strong sense of narrative in the recitativo sections and a feeling that he always had an overall vision, even if (for instance) the extraordinary second "arioso" section, marked "exhausted, losing strength" by Beethoven, could have had a more other-worldly feel. For me the second movement was simply not mad enough, and also lacked a certain rhythmic tautness and vitality. In sum, this, and the whole recital, came over as wonderful "work in progress" from a genuine Beethoven pianist whom I hope to hear many times in the future.

Copyright © 25 April 2010 Julian Jacobson, London UK

Press review - International Piano Quarterly

Copyright © March/April 2009, International Piano Quarterly