Warren Mailley-Smith, Norwich
CHRISTOPHER SMITH Elegant and mellow, a Prelude and Fugue from The Well-Tempered Clavier made an attractive overture to the recital by young pianist Warren Mailley-Smith.
Elegant and mellow, a Prelude and Fugue from The Well-Tempered Clavier made an attractive overture to the recital by young pianist Warren Mailley-Smith. Then, with Busoni's arrangement – or, to be more precise, his elaboration – of a Bach chaconne, he gave us an opportunity to draw comparison between the Baroque composer and the responses of a legendary lion of the keyboard a century and a half later.
The first work was cultured, intellectual conversation with points made firmly but not fought over and conclusions mutually agreed on. The second was argument rather, not to say conflict, in louder tones, with more emphatic gestures and a degree of physicality to give emphasis to the artistry. The performer very satisfactorily captured a change in style that embodied different views.
Turning to Liszt, who himself performed in Norwich in the 1840s, Mailley-Smith evoked the cascading charms of the Villa d'Este Fountains. The poetic charm was, however, not helped by the piano's unattractive metallic upper register, and though Ravel's Fountains was also performed with grace and elegance, two works on the same theme was perhaps one too many.
Beginning with melancholy and concluding with a touch of resolution, Liszt's concert study A Sigh was a piece of mood painting that caught Romantic mood swings admirably. An attractive lilt in Chopin's more extrovert Ballad No 4 unleashed the applause at the end.
t Warren Mailley-Smith was performing at the Assembly House.