Concert 3. Wednesday 10 December 2014 PDF Print E-mail





Beethoven      Sonata No. 22 in F major, Op. 54 

Sonata No.23 in F minor, Op.57 [Appassionata]    

Bruno Mantovani     

Le Livre de Jeb 



Bartok Sonata for Piano


 Virtuoso Magic at the Ilkley Concert Club


The concert began with a moving tribute from the club's president David Pyett to the composer Arthur Butterworth, a great friend of Ilkley music, who died recently. Then on stage came Jean-Efflam Bavouzet to play a non-standard programme of nineteenth to twenty-first century music. He began with the rarely heard Beethoven op.54 sonata, beautifully phrased with many magic moments, the whole thing wonderfully alive.


Then he spoke at length and most engagingly about Le Livre de JEB by his friend Bruno Mantovani. His committed performance of this took us into a different musical world that is unfamiliar I suspect to many audience members who are not followers of New Music. The performance held their attention throughout with its fascinating exploration of the resources of the modern concert grand. In his talk M. Bavouzet had stressed the importance of the work's structure and this was born out in the way we were led on an aural journey that ended just where it should and just as it should.


Back to Beethoven - an incandescent performance of the Appassionato sonata with spell-binding control of its many dramatic moments. This pianist is a risk-taker, never more so than in the finale's Presto coda. In contrast was the central slow movement, taken at a good flowing tempo. It showed his skill in cantabile playing, real poetry here.


The concert revealed many marvellous aspects of this renowned artist's playing (how lucky we are in Ilkley to be able to attract world-famous musicians of this calibre). But above all, and more even than his astounding technical facility, was the range of colours that he was able to produce from what might seem to be a monochrome instrument, notwithstanding the excellence of our halls' Steinway We had already met these colours before the interval but what came after was even more dazzling whether in the subtle sound palette of Ravel's Miroirs or the much more earthy folksong and dance inspired world of Bartók's Sonata. Some Enchanted Evening!



The following recordings were recommended in the Concert Programme:



M. Bavouzet is recording all the Beethoven Piano Sonatas for Chandos, and the first two volumes have been released to critical acclaim. The third volume, which should be released soon, contains Sonatas Nos. 22 and 23. Should you wish to buy the Sonatas now, I can recommend Nicolai Lugansky on a medium priced Erato CD-2564633472, which contains Sonatas Nos. 7, 14, 22, 23. An excellent alternative, if not quite as well recorded, is performed by Sviatoslav Richter on Decca 475 8124 (2 discs at medium price), and contains Sonatas Nos.19-23 and 30-32.


Bruno Mantovani

No commercial recordings appear to have been made.



M. Bavouzet's recording of the complete Piano Works is superb, and very well recorded on MDG 604 1190-2 (2 discs at medium price). There is an excellent cheap alternative by Jean-Philippe Collard on EMI/Warner 5860612. The recording quality is not quite as good as the Bavouzet, but perfectly satisfactory.



A very cheap Brilliant Classics 2 disc set of Bartók Piano Works has the first disc shared between Zoltan Kocis and Andras Schiff, with the former playing the Sonata. The second disc, which is naturally less well recorded, has Bela Bartók himself playing selections from his Mikrokosmos. As an alternative, the very reliable Jeno Jandó plays the Sonata with other Bartók works, on Naxos 8.554717 (upper budget price).

Raymond Waud.


Club Notes for this concert 



David Pyett has kindly taken on this job temporarily - but thinking of next season, ICC is now looking for help. The job mainly requires two fairly short periods each season when action has to be taken. It is not an onerous task and below is brief description of what is involved. We earnestly hope that this will result in a volunteer.

Early summer: Make a check to see which of our loyal advertisers will place an advert in the following season. If additional advertisers are required, contact appropriate businesses and arrange for the space to be filled, agree all the details and when it is all complete, advise our printer of exactly what goes where!

Autumn: After the first concert, send out invoices with copies of the programme to the Advertisers. Payments are made directly to our Treasurer and he will advise when the appropriate amounts are received. In the unusual event that a follow up statement is required, action will need to be taken.

If you would like to discuss this further, please contact the Hon. Secretary, Josephine Wesley, (Ilkley 601248) or the President, David Pyett, (Ilkley 609744) and they will answer your questions. This task is financially very important to the club and contributes a great deal to our ability to provide such detailed and informative programmes. (DP & JW)



On this subject, we can take this opportunity to thank all the advertisers, many of whom have supported us for a number of years. It is important that we in turn will, wherever possible, support them. We know many of you do, but please bear this in mind when shopping locally. No doubt we all want Ilkley to maintain its character and this is one way in which we can help.



We heard a remarkable concert in November from an outstanding group playing three quartets that, for different reasons, rank as some of the most significant ever written. Geoffrey Kinder's review and programme notes explain (see the ICC website). There is no space here, but I hope to comment in another Club Note about various aspects of their playing, including their unusual seating arrangement. (DW)