Expert performance from Katin at festival

Review: An Evening with Peter Katin, Etchingham Music Fesival. Thursday, July 12.

THE rain came down in torrents but Etchingham Festival’s devotees were not going to let that deter them from their annual treat by the Festival’s patron Peter Katin whose expertise filled the ancient village church as assuredly as it has filled concert halls from Carnegie Hall to the Melbourne Symphony.

Schubert was incredibly prolific, particularly considering his short life - he died aged only thirty-one. The three Impromptus which opened the evening varied in approach.. The first in A flat, was contemplative, almost as though he had premonitions. The second in B flat was lighter, more familiar, the third in E flat varied from a serious opening note to a brighter finale.

Beethoven is not a name immediately associated with Peter’s programmes yet the first notes of the Grande Sonata Pathétique emerged with high fidelity definition and total dedication. Slowly, solemnly as this was penned at the time when the composer was losing his hearing, then this changed. It grew lighter, brighter, the second movement a song without words, the third with moments of rapture falling away to a solemn finale.

Claude Debussy’s delightful Children’s Corner Suite of contrasting short pieces which opened the second half ranged from a lullaby through a serenade to a doll to dancing snowflakes and the finale of the Golliwog’s Cakewalk. All charming and painting a miniature in a few bars. Why is only this last regularly heard?

To close were two works by the composer for whom the interpretation of his works Peter is justly world-famous, Chopin’s Nocturne in D flat and the No 3 Ballade in A flat minor.

A sudden thought - has Peter in common with we lesser mortals a preference for flat keys above sharps? (A flat, B flat etc E flat etc rather than G major, D major, A major etc.)

Perish the thought! A secret which Peter keeps well and truly hidden.

What does it matter as long as he continues to delight us with his genius?

Marrion Wells