Chopin’s G minor Ballade is one of those pieces that is played a great deal and often rather mangled by exaggerated rubato and mannered interpretation. I love to reveal the unvarnished truth about music, to reveal its natural patterns and structure. For me, allowing the rhythm and melodic lines to flow with natural flexibility only adds to the extraordinary cathartic beauty of Chopin’s refined yet emotional and virtuoso composition.
This spontaneous improvisation has a wistful feeling with its modal tonality: the sun should be shining in June and on such a gloomy day, a little improvising on the piano can bring a little warmth and comfort… I will feature it on my album of 16 unplanned improvisations, which will be released in a few weeks’ time.
Three beautiful, introspective piano pieces by Brahms: smouldering with understated passion and pathos yet darkly sweet and deeply comforting. I find this music richly warm and compassionate!
A glorious, melodic, dark and richly virtuoso piece by Rachmaninov. With its long, tuneful lines, filigree textures and dramatic pauses, it has an epic quality, despite being quite short.
This Mendelssohn Song without Words is a beautiful duet with a gorgeous flowing accompaniment. The sense of arrival when the melody reaches its full-blooded summit and also the quiet pizzicato bass notes towards the end are both powerful in very different ways.
My Nocturne No. 11 in G minor is one of the 11 Nocturnes that feature in my forthcoming album ‘Nocturnal’ to be released on February 18th. The album version is the original unplanned improvisation, but having created a score, I play it for you here.
Another unplanned improvisation – this time tonally simpler, diatonic, very minor with a dark and wistful mood.
This is an unplanned improvisation. I’d been pondering what a pointless charade politics can become with individuals scoring points off each other rather than using intelligence to find solutions.
So the darkness of the mood and the twisted nature of the complex, jazzy impressionistic tonality arise as my feelings of disappointment and resentment are untangled and resolved by musical patterns, easing my mind.
The Chopin Fantaisie-Impromptu is one of those iconic pieces of the classical piano repertoire. It is arguably played too much so why have I added my performance? I think the infinite ways a piece can change in the hands of different musicians is actually very interesting. My version is fast but lyrical and I search for an unexaggerated and natural romanticism and warmth.
I love the way Debussy’s Clair de Lune has an effortless natural flow. It’s a challenging piece as it needs to be expressive but exaggeration spoils its authentic felling of wistful longing. This famous masterpiece remains forever fresh and disarmingly beautiful.