04 April 2019

Energy and erudition

To play at a Wesley Music Centre's Wednesday lunchtime concert is an annual outing for Roland Peelman. It's an introduction to each upcoming Canberra International Music Festival, of which he is the Musical Director. It always relates to the CIMF's theme and it's always fascinating and informative and a musical treat. Roland just exudes energy and erudition. There's purpose and history in his performances and vivacity and commitment in his playing. In concert, I've seen it as he leads a group from the keyboard. At Wesley, it's solo piano and this time the theme was Bach, although he played nothing that was on the CIMF program. That's easy enough given Bach's output. This was a study of chromaticism and tonality. First up was Prelude and fugue Bmin BWV869, the final and most extravagant of the 24 works of Well Tempered Clavier. Then an insert, a short impressionistic piece written for Roland by Belgian composer Frank Nuyts. Roland confirmed it was virtually all written tonally, but some intervals were decidedly jarring. Then Chromatic fantasia and fugue Dmin BWV903, apparently with a recitative in the fantasia and an fugal theme using the B-A-C-H letters (in German, for us Bb-A-C-B) but rearranged in ascending order. All fascinating. Mostly played form memory. This is music that is intimate yet challenging for all, audience and Roland, and you feel it with him and explore its intellectual complexities but also its art. A great pleasure to come into Roland's space with such a concert. Many thanks.

Roland Peelman (piano) played Bach and Nuyts at Wesley.

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