12:47pm Tuesday 8th May 2012
By James Simister
Young Australian pianist Jayson Gillham delighted a packed Pavilion Theatre with a varied recital of Ludwig van Beethoven, Frederic Chopin, Claude Debussy and George Ligeti. Jayson gave short but illuminating introductions to the longer pieces, and he was on hand at the main entrance afterwards to meet his audience.
The Pavilion Theatre is a relatively small venue and its acoustic was sometimes hard for a grand piano at full volume. This was an issue in Beethoven's famous Waldstein Sonata, which was written when the composer had just received a new piano with a greater range and power which he exploited to the full.
Despite this, Jayson Gillham performed this diverse programme with great precision and enviable technique, and without the pained and distracting facial expressions adopted by many pianists. His playing was always precise and the detail of the music was always audible, even in the impassioned climax of the Waldstein.
Debussy's Four Etudes were written in 1914; as Jayson said, this is the last romantic series of studies (etudes) in which the practice exercises are subordinate to musical expression so the audience forgets their didactic purpose, especially in the second study, Ornaments, which is like an impressionist painting. The other pieces are a complex chromatic study, the more delicate but jokey repeated notes, and arpeggios which Jayson played quite brilliantly.
After ending the advertised programme with an expansive account of Chopin's Ballade no. 4 in F minor, Jayson Gillham played Ligeti's Sorcerer's Apprentice as a contrasting encore.
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