Holly performed a varied and beautifully executed programme, featuring music by Scarlatti, Chopin and contemporary composer Gubaidulina.
Holly began with Sonata in B minor by Scarlatti. The lack of dynamic markings in the score leads to a multitude of interpretations, and this, combined with Scarlatti’s extensive use of decoration, creates Scarlatti’s “jesting art.” Holly successfully conveyed this humorous writing through her use of light articulation.
The selection of movements from Sofia Gubaidulina’s Musical Toys greatly contrasted the Scarlatti Sonata. Each movement captures a unique childhood experience and likewise incorporates a different musical skill for each one. Though this set is subtitled ‘A Collection of Piano Pieces for Children’, its complex musical language and the unconventional technique required, deem it more suitable for advanced students. Holly displayed great musicality and understanding of the music to exude a sense of awe and wonder. Gubaidulina utilises many unconventional rhythms and harmonies in her writing to convey specific scenarios and experiences. In The Woodpecker, the use of unusual rhythms and harmonies create the idea of multiple different types of birds: the powerful woodpecker with its repetitive knocking, followed by a far-off songbird with its quieter, more melodious fragments of song.
In contrast, once more, to these more contemporary pieces, we were treated to Chopin’s well-loved Nocturne in C sharp minor. Holly’s playing enchanted the audience, with her delicate deliverance of the continuous soft bass line of arpeggiated chords, and precise decoration of the themes.
Then, as if to wake us from our trance, Holly concluded the recital with a final movement from Musical Toys, April Days. The sparse quavers and loud bass chords paint the picture of scattered showers and heavy thunderstorms, bringing a great recital to a dramatic close.
Join us next week as we hear Form 3 Music Award Holders come together to perform music for chamber ensembles.