We welcomed several newcomers to Tickhill Music Society’s piano recital by the Lithuanian, Ugnius Pauliukonis — and what a treat we were all in for! Performing since being six years young, he filmed this performance as part of working towards his International Artist Diploma.
A lengthy pause before he started the first piece, well-articulated Haydn, heightened expectations. Before continuing with the more romantic repertoire of Chopin, Debussy and Dvarionas, he informed us of his theme for the first half: water. As if we hadn’t seen enough of the wet stuff lately! The Haydn coda was based on water; Chopin’s Etude is known as ‘waterfall’ (descending chords of the right hand over the river’s arpeggios of the left); Debussy’s Reflections in the Water (ending on both banks at the furthest stretches of the keyboard); the Lithuanian composer’s The First Snowflakes perhaps stretching the point a little but worthy for the sheer virtuosity required.
So, were we looking forward to the second half? Well, it was all Chopin — but proved to be delightfully varied. Ugnius introduced us to the dance motif, starting with a Ballade of gentle lilt — though with great dynamics to come.
Ugnius explained that while Mazurkas are Polish folk dances, they are really leaves from Chopin’s past and, as he claimed, “all we have are memories”.
Four Mazurkas followed with a real spring in their steps.
Introducing the Etudes, Ugnius kindly explained that no.5 was nicknamed ‘wrong note’ so we were prepared, this time the left hand taking the melody and the right expansive arpeggios, reversing ‘waterfall’. He invited us to try the octaves in both hands demanded by no.10! We are not all blessed with Rachmaninov’s hands, unlike this remarkable pianist.
Finally the Scherzo, “like a summary of the second half” and an apt conclusion to this exceptional recital as Ugnius gazed towards the heavens, transporting us all to a place where indeed memories are made.
Review by Philip James
Tickhill Music Society’s next concert will be on Friday 13th December at 7.00pm at St Mary’s Primary School, St Mary’s Road, Tickhill. ‘Change for two Tenors’ is with local singers Barrie Scully and Alan Cropley who present a programme of folk songs, sea shanties, songs from the shows and, of course, music with Christmas in mind. Join the society for wine, mince pies and their seasonal raffle.
Subscriptions for seven concerts costs £60.00, concessions £55.00 (pro rata dependent upon joining date) and subscriptions for any four concerts is £40.00. Alternatively, non-member admission is £12.00 for each event at the door. Accompanied children (under 16) and students (aged 16 to 19) are admitted free of charge.