Read on for a review of Cordelia Williams' stunning solo piano recital last Friday, kindly supplied by a regular audience member

 

Supremely centred, graceful and elegant, Cordelia Williams quietly composed herself before each piece before extending to play the first few critical notes. The programme asked a lot of the audience in the first half, rewarding it with the most beautiful performance of my most favourite set of Schubert Impromptus – D935 – in the second.

But how would she start the evening with Arvo Pärt? She told us in the pre-concert talk there were no bar lines and no time signature. There were these isolated notes that somehow needed to be threaded into a line of coherence and meaning. His piece – ‘Für Alina’, written in 1976 – was one of the first of his new style tintinnabuli, and we heard a gentle meandering sequence of individual notes, gently ringing and partnered with others that provided the bell-like overtones that reflected his description.  Quietly calming and serene.

Then Four Mazurkas, Opus 6, of Chopin.  Decisive playing here, followed by Prokofiev’s 20 miniatures in ‘Visions Fugitives’ Opus 22, and Janáček’s ‘V mlhách’ (In the Mists). So many different idioms; so much contrasting material. In the Janáček, fragments seemingly of sudden and impetuous thoughts to be shared with an audience. Wonderful playing over a richly emotional range, each reflecting the composers’ circumstances.

 

Cordelia rehearsing before the concert