Review: Peter Katin at the Etchingham Festival, Etchingham Church, July 7

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FOR a village so small, albeit possessing a church with acoustics a recording studio would die for, to have a Musical Festival at all is a feather in their cap.

This is of course thanks to the organisational powers and enthusiasm of chair Mary Newington, vice-chair Brian Hilton and particularly its patron, star pianist Peter Katin, who each year delights his audience with a display of his signature musical pyrotechnics.

This year Schumann’s Arabesque Opus 18 had everyone on the edge of their seats.

Every note rippled put with the utmost clarity, coming to a climax in a cascade of sound. Schubert’s Sonata in A minor, D 537, opened with an Allegro ma non troppo including some breath-taking arpeggios.

The familiar Clair de Lune under Peter’s treatment was revealed as fresh and original as at its premiere. The Passepied, not the Breton country dance which shares its name, was bright and virile with brilliantly executed arpeggios in the left hand.

No recital by Peter is complete without a contribution from the composer with whom he is associated worldwide. This year it was Chopin’s Polonaise-Fantaisie Opus 61, of which the important feature is indeed the fantasy. For the greatly-demanded encore, Peter turned again to Chopin, the Waltz in A flat major which the composer issued in three different formats.