Cameron Roberts (piano)
reviewed by Phoebe Schuman
This was a recital to grip the attention of the most jaded listeners: a compilation of works all being given their first airings in Perth. This is not to suggest that the audience would have been unfamiliar with the works on offer. On the contrary, these were some of the most frequently encountered pieces in the classical repertoire but here heard, for the first time in Perth, in the form of piano transcriptions by the soloist Cameron Roberts.
But these accounts of standard repertoire – Tchaikowsky’s 1812 Overture, say, or Summer from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and songs of Rachmaninov – were offered, not as hack reductions of well known staples but extraordinarily apposite keyboard versions that came across like a compendium of musical marvels.
One of the most abiding recollections of this recital was the quite astonishing wealth of detail that reached the ear, subtleties which in the original, say, at climactic high points in the 1812 Overture or Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, would not necessarily have impinged on the consciousness. Here, though, we were able to detect subtleties with a clarity that was both astounding and gratifying.
An account of Summer from The Four Seasons sprang to new and fascinating life, with notes more often than not clothed in glorious tone, its movements presented like a chaplet of flawlessly fashioned gems.
I was particularly impressed with Roberts’ transcription of Rachmaninov’s song How Beautiful it is Here! Luminous tone, clarity of line and profound expressiveness made this one of the evening’s most memorable moments.
Peak of the evening lay in the keeping of Bach: the slow movement from his Concerto for 2 violins BWV 1043 was a model, not only of the transcriber’s art, but a remarkable unbottling of its gentle genie. Bravissimo!
Unsurprisingly, there were encores: another transcription – In Paradisum from Faure’s Requiem and a passionate reading of Andaluza from the 12 Spanish Dances by Granados.