Thrilling time for Seaton Music Club

From a student job providing background music in the tea room of the Savoy to his present position as a rising solo pianist, Christopher Guild has performed in major London concert halls and on BBC3.

After distinguished studies in London, he has been in demand as a soloist, in chamber ensembles and for orchestral rehearsals.

The Music Club was delighted to welcome him for his first visit to Seaton on Thursday, March 15th.

Whether in works by virtuoso pianists CPE Bach, Beethoven, Liszt, Chopin, or in a well known work by Debussy or in a little known work by Respighi, he gripped the audience’s attention with his dramatic and intensely felt renditions.

Beethoven’s Sonata in C minor op13 (Path�tique) of 1798 was, true to its title (path�tique means ‘evoking strong emotions’), an evocation of moments of dramatic tension with insistent rhythms but also with moving melody.

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Christopher Guild’s performance showed both technical brilliance and a sense of the tensions, the despair and the moments of rest in the piece.

Respighi’s Three Preludes on Gregorian Melodies (1919), linked to stained glass windows depicting biblical scenes, introduced different emotions with the meditative outer movements and the fiery central one depicting a celestial battle with St Michael the Archangel.

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In these three preludes, as in the following Paraphrase from a Waltz on Gounod’s Faust by Franz Liszt, there were exciting moments of breath-taking technical brilliance and equally gripping moments of sheer lyrical beauty.

CPE Bach’s Twelve Variations on La Folia (1778) has been used by many composers, but here in its original form, its rhythmic main theme was clear and the expansive and decorated variations again showed the soloist’s expressive range.

Claude Debussy’s Children’s Corner, written for his own daughter between 1906 and 1908, showed off the composer’s humour (the child’s approach to piano exercises, Jimbo falling asleep) as well as his skill in depicting scenes, and reminded pianists in the audience of their own piano practice.

The programme ended on a brilliant note with another virtuoso piece, Chopin’s Ballade no 4 in E minor, op52, and the audience’s enthusiastic applause brought Christopher Guild back to play as an encore - a piece in a different style, recalling his student days a the pianist at the Savoy – Gershwin’s Someone to watch over me.

That took us a step closer to the next event for the club, a special extra concert to mark its 60th birthday.

Chris Gradwell (clarinet and saxophone), Kate Walker (soprano) and Andrew Daldorph (piano) will give a concert entitled ‘Music Deco’, made up of songs and melodies from the 20s, 30s and 40s, in Seaton Town Hall, on Thursday, April 26, at 7.30 pm.

Peter Dawson

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