27th January 2017
|Bach||Prelude and Fugue in C major book 2, No.1|
|Chopin||Ballade No. 4|
|Liszt||Grandes Études de Paganini No. 6|
|Scarlatti||2 Sonatas K. 466 and K. 455|
|Ravel||Gaspard de la nuit|
Last night's recital was given by a young Syrian pianist with a programme illustrating his wide musical interests covering the changing form of piano music, ranging as it did from Bach and Scarlatti to Ravel and Ligeti via Beethoven, Chopin and Liszt.
Opening with Bach, played rather romantically with a surprising use of pedal, he continued with Beethoven's penultimate sonata Op 110, demanding a high level of sonority and variety of touch. A romantic interpretation of Chopin's fourth ballade found him more relaxed, and this was followed by a masterly performance of Liszt's Paganini variations showing where his real talent lies.
Two contrasting Scarlatti sonatas opened the second half of the programme and prepared the way for Ravel's formidable Gaspard de la nuit. Ondine was especially lucid with light fingers producing effective watery motifs, and Scarbo by contrast seemed to present no problems for Riyad whose fingers flew over the keys in one of the most difficult pieces of the piano repertoire.
He finished with a lively performance of the Ligeti Fanfares after which we were treated to a moving encore written by a fellow musician from Aleppo, Dia Al Succari Danse de Laila.
Riyad Nicholas is not yet a well-known name on the piano circuit but it is likely to be so in the future. Watch this space.
Members of the audience were glad to contribute to the Mariela Shaker project to fund musical instruments and workshops for the children in Aleppo.
Reviewer: Sylvia Coward
Photographer: David James