Sam Row has a penchant for C20th French music and it's a killer. He played Ravel Gaspard de nuit with strange themes and 10,000+ notes in six minutes. I'd believe it: huge rippling screeds of notes with a melody over, in left or right hand. I'd hate to see the written music, but then he played it from memory so he doesn't need to read it on stage. I can only admire his memory. So what were the themes? Ondine, the water spirit, sings to seduce a man into her underwater palace and finally turns back into water when he rejects her in favour of a human. Le Gibet, with a man hanging from a gallows in a desert at sunrise with the sounds of bells in the distance. And Scarbo, a goblin flitting around a bedroom until he disappears. Strange stuff, sometimes grim. After this, a lovely Chopin nocturne was a great relief, beautiful and restful and well known. And a melody from Ukraine to finish as a short encore. Again, a beguiling and challenging concert from Sam.
Sam Row (piano) performed at Wesley Music Centre.