Tricia Dawn Williams is practically the only local pianist who entirely concentrates on contemporary composers, especially living ones.
Her performances attract a loyal core of aficionados and others who, by their own admission, want to expand and enrich their musical experiences.
During The Three Palaces Festival Williams performed in a highly successful concert at Verdala Palace, which attracted a pretty large audience.
No less appreciative was the rather smaller audience which braved the first bad weather of the year when she performed at the Manoel Theatre.
Here, yet again, this enterprising pianist proved how well-prepared and resourceful she is and how her boundless energy seems to carry all before her.
Her performances attract a loyal core of aficionados and others who, by their own admission, want to expand and enrich their musical experiences
The recital was continuous and consisted of a number of works which, except for two by John Cage, are by living composers. Although lasting a few minutes each, these works were highly concentrated and required great skill and resource.
Most of the pieces were very evocative, beginning with Cage’s stark Soliloquy. Mariella Cassar Cordina’s Oriental Prints is a very approachable work, with a skeletal theme that underlines the whole piece. Its title is generic, yet it is one single work during which the pianist’s resourcefulness interprets how she feels non-Western music should sound.
Williams created an exotic aura about the work which beautifully fades away in a kind of exotic reverie. Makiko Kinoshita’s Preludes Nos. 7 & 9 were performed almost as if they were one piece, beginning in a jaunty, syncopated manner and later developing a somewhat rambling mood that gave way to a little reflection, before reverting to a renewed energetic spurt.
Cage’s A Room creates a gentle, if relentlessly hypnotic, wave of sound, difficult to resist and inducing a kind of total surrender. In Konstantia Gourzi’s Aiolos Wind, the six sections which comprise this work are tributes to various and very different personalities with accents on certain facets one could associate with them.
In this case, the pianist’s resourcefulness helped her deal with rather unusual circumstances. As she explained before starting the work, the composer instructed that a book be placed on the piano strings. However, Williams explained that when she tried this method, she was not convinced. At least, not with the piano at hand.
Instead, she ordered some metal wedges used for piano tuning, which arrived that very same morning, which meant she had no time to rehearse the piece. The piece sounded fine right through and somehow it seemed that the pieces had almost ended before they had even started.
From then on there was an increased intensity in the energy unleashed in China Gates, by John Adams, marked by the eighth notes, which the composer himself says reflect a steady rainfall. This effect remains obsessive throughout.
Un-intermezzi, by Veronika Krausas, took one into a different world in which these five pieces draw their inspiration from composers as widely varied as Brahms, Bach, Satie, Ligeti, Holmes and Adès. These influences were skilfully drawn out in all their widely contrasting characters.
What seemed to be the longest piece of the evening was the final one, Graham Fitkin’s Relent. This 1998 work is time-obsessed and one may dare call ‘relentless’, for such is the tyranny of time. The piece came across brilliantly, fast mov-ing, very energetic, yet never sacrificing articulation.
Exciting in its relentlessness as could be understood by anyone who is always chasing after time.
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