The Funtington Music Group’s Autumn Season opened with a welcome return of Roy Stratford on 13 September at the University of Chichester.
Roy has had wide experience as a lecture-recitalist, and he charmed the audience before the interval with a fascinating dissection of J S Bach’s Goldberg Variations, followed by a sparkling concert performance of the work on the University’s delightful Steinway Model D grand piano.
The Goldberg Variations begin with an aria, then thirty variations, followed by an aria da capo. Roy Stratford engaged with the audience, right from the start, by asking them to sing in two groups the famous French song Frere Jacques. This type of repetition he explained was the basic principle behind Bach’s variations, and it also allows the artist huge freedom in how he interprets the music. As he explained, in interesting detail, this work, perhaps the greatest of all Bach’s compositions, is an anthology of different styles, moods and musical colours.
After the interval Roy Stratford began to play, starting with the slow introduction played at a leisurely pace. And then the mood changed and one could hardly understand how the pianist could keep up the breakneck speed that the composer requires. Roy Stratford managed these transitions impeccably, not least in those thrilling sections where the pianist is required to cross one hand over the other in rapid fire succession.
This landmark work is a show-piece for keyboard virtuosity and variety. Roy Stratford, with intense conviction, brought out the diverse flavours of the music, whether languorous and slow, or witty and dynamic. The audience appreciated the performance with great applause.
David Tinsley, Chairman of the Funtington Music Group, said, “We were so pleased to invite Roy Stratford back, and tonight’s concert proves what a fantastic lecturer, teacher and pianist Roy is. This was an outstanding performance.”
Further details of the Funtington Music Group can be obtained from the Membership Secretary, Elizabeth Brooks, on 01 243 378900.
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