Autumn Recital: David Barnard
St Margaret’s Parish Church, Swinton.
Sunday 16th October, 2022.
2pm – 3pm
Philip Glass 1937 – Present
Francis Poulenc 1899 – 1963
Mélancolie FP 105
Isaac Albéniz 1860 – 1909
From Cantos de España Op. 232: Prelude ‘Leyenda’
Sergei Rachmaninoff 1873 – 1943
Prelude in G# minor Op. 32 No. 12
Prelude in G minor Op. 23 No. 5
Percy Grainger 1882 – 1961
Frédéric Chopin 1810 – 1849
Waltz in C# minor Op. 64 No. 2
Waltz in E minor Op. Post. KK4A No. 15
Philip Glass 1937 – present
From Glassworks: Opening
Claude Debussy 1862 – 1918
From Suite bergamesque: Clair de lune
W. A. Mozart 1756 – 1791
From Piano Sonata in A Major K. 331: Rondo ‘alla Turca’ (Allegretto)
Programme Notes, by David Barnard.
I chose this programme from a number of aspects: some of my favourite composers (Poulenc and Mozart), music that has meant a lot to me over the last 10 years, since I last performed at St Margaret’s, and music that I know you, the audience, would really enjoy hearing in these wonderful surrounds.
We are so lucky to be able to spend an hour or two on a Sunday afternoon, sat listening to music. The more I have travelled, the more I have come to appreciate just how so many people around the world do not have this luxury of time, resources and space. We must never take this moment in time for granted.
Philip Glass wrote many pieces for piano and I first discovered this composer whilst working on a trilogy of his operas; Einstein on the Beach, Satyagraha, and Akhnaten. It was a lot of his music (and notes) at once! Despite this, I find the minimalism and crystalline nature of his music very powerful.
My most significant and influential piano teacher, Diana, introduced me to Poulenc through his piano-works as an undergrad, in my 2nd year – I was hooked! I think I enjoyed the flair and showmanship of his writing more than anything. A few years later, I met my conducting teacher and life-long music mentor, Fraser Goulding, who was taught by Vilém Tauský. This noted Czech conductor assisted Poulenc at Covent Garden in the late 1950’s before Poulenc died in 1963. Fraser subsequently passed on his love of the composer and in particular, the opera, ‘Dialogues des Carmélites’ – the opera where all the nuns have their heads chopped off at the end! In 2018, I had the privilege of teaching this opera to the students at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and to pass on knowledge about the composer. All this translates into a long affinity with this composer through working on all of Poulenc’s songs, operas, piano music and choral works – including introducing Bel Canto choir, here at Swinton, to the composer! (Yes, Ollie Barker – I remember how much you loved it – NOT!)
Albeniz wrote over 600 compositions and many of his works are wrongly attributed to the Spanish guitar, when in actual fact, many pieces were written for the piano first and then made famous by the classical guitar; including this flashy prelude, ‘Leyenda’ (Legend).
These two preludes by Rachmaninoff were introduced to me as I was leaving Australia, as an 18 year old and I remember playing them and the famous C# minor prelude, at my old secondary school. I actually broke my first piano string! That won’t be happening today…
Grainger’s music never really spoke to me until I had the opportunity to perform ‘The Warriors’ – two pianos, brass band and orchestra – with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra under Sir Andrew Davis. Of course, Grainger was born and is buried in Melbourne, so, whist his career was prominent in the USA, there is a special something in this piece that captures the mix of sentimental musical influences, so often found in Australian compositions. This particular piece gained incredible success as a main staple of the wind-band repertoire, worldwide.
Chopin has always been a part of my performing life, mostly the ballads and etudes (studies) but more recently, I have begun to work my way through the waltzes. I have also played these two particular pieces when on a Lost Chord visit to a nursing home, with unexpected and remarkable experiences.
In a similar way, Debussy (and this particular piece) has played an important role for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s. I can’t explain why – but the imagery and magic of this piece is something very special.
I couldn’t give a piano recital without including Mozart. The more I research into Mozart’s last seven years, the more I am in awe of this composer. I have now played all of his operas, chamber music, songs and three of the piano concertos and I’m still not bored by any of it. This particular piece (in the style of a Turkish March) comes at the end of the wonderful piano sonata in A major. I hope it puts a smile on your face as it always does mine.
Today’s recital would not have happened without the support of Wendy Nutton and Father Chris Barley (St Margaret’s).