Each year young adult pianists are invited to enter the Norah Sande Awards, and the Saturday heats are open to listeners without charge.
On the Sunday the chosen three finalists each perform a programme of their own choice on the centre’s fine Steinway.
The artistic director Spencer Freeman presided; and adjudicators Ruth Gerald, Timothy Barrett and David Patrick were on the balcony, pens poised.
We heard first a programme of Bach, Stravinsky and Farrenc (presumably Louise, a French pianist, teacher and composer, 1804-75). Madelaine Jones plays both harpsichord and piano, and her remarkable finger-dexterity no doubt owed much to her familiarity with the former instrument. Her inclusion of a work by a woman composer (assuming I’m right in my presumption) was a nice touch, and it was good to be introduced to Farrenc’s Chopinesque F Sharp Minor Study.
Dinara Klinton was born in Ukraine, and has studied not only in Moscow but at London’s Royal College. She played one of Beethoven’s less-well-known Sonatas, his Opus 78, and three unashamed “display” items: Sarcasms by Prokofiev, and two works by Liszt: a Transcendental Study, and his astonishing transcription of the Waltz from Gounod’s Faust.
Hannah Watson added an extra dimension to her recital. Having delivered fine performances of two Bach Preludes and Fugues, she stood to speak to the audience, making excellent contact as she introduced not only some simple pieces by Sibelius, but in addition Messiaen’s Regard de l’Eglise d’Amour, a work that seemed to set the entire building vibrating to its oft-repeated fortissimo chords.
The chairman of the judges, David Patrick, announced that Dinara was the unanimous winner, with Hannah the runner-up.
The winner will give a recital early next year. As usual, the Sande Award had presented three outstanding talents for our delectation.