King’s Lynn Festival review: Maria Marchant coffee concert

Maria Marchant

Maria Marchant

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It’s all change this year at the Coffee Concerts at Lynn Town Hall. Wednesday’s pianist was granted permission to go to the piano competition in Cleveland but will be coming in the autumn.

The replacement pianist was Maria Marchant with a consequent replacement programme which she titled Poetic Piano. Each of the pieces was based on or inspired by poetry.

The opening piece was the well-known Moonlight Sonata from Beethoven which was played with such a freshness as if completely new. Charm and elegance exuded from the initial gentle ripples to the more exuberant third movement. A delicacy of touch yet powerful when needed was a delightful contrast.

Debussy’s Bergamasque followed encapsulating the different moods and atmospheres of the four movements which included the renowned Clair de Lune. Maria engrossed herself in each of these demonstrating the different aspects of harmony and dance with consummate ease

Liszt’s transcriptions of Schubert’s Schwanengesang brought new life to the original songs as did the performance this morning. The stories told through the skilful interpretation were clearly of unhappiness and excitement – both relating to love.

The final piece, and arguably the most technically difficult yet spellbinding, was Liszt’s Ballade in B minor.

Beginning with chromatic waves in the bass set against lilting “lovesong” in the treble the two ideas become entwined. The intensity increases as the waves become stronger and heavier whilst the lovesong becomes weaker until the waves overpower and the love succumbs. It is no mean feat to portray this idea with just one pair of hands but Maria managed to do so as if she were a full orchestra.

An encore for the appreciative audience was a transcription of a short piece by Glinka which was equally delightful and skilfully executed.