23 May 2019


Stuart Long said he's been fascinated by variations and it showed. Variations are works of musical exploration, so a composer looks at a theme, perhaps just 32 bars, then delivers a string of approaches to that set of chords or melody. Stuart mentioned that melody and rhythm and the rest are essential, but interestingly, that the movement of variations and their resolution is key. It's easy enough to take in the early variations, but they can become more tangential before the return and all this is fascinating in a musically playful and exploratory way. Stuart played three sets of variations for this concerts. Firstly by Brahms and Mendelssohn and these were variations on their own themes and busy and full handed in form. The last was certainly tangential. Muczynsky Desperate measures (Paganini variations). It's a modern work (1996) and shows it. Initially more relaxed and open and playful with blues and jazz tonalities and idioms, but increasingly intriguing with varied harmonies and intervals and dissonances of last century. So a great concert of deep exploration and huge musical commitment by Stuart: fascinating and unrelenting and a work out of both physical and musical vigour. Emotionally and intellectually fabulous.

Stuart Long (piano) played variations by Brahms, Mendelssohn and Muczinski at Wesley.

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