Mark Westcott Piano Recital Worth a Star
Mark Westcott, who gave a piano recital for the Vancouver Festival Society in the Queen Elizabeth Playhouse Sunday night. Endowed with many admirable qualities of mind and manner, including a fine technique, excellent musical taste and sensitive restraint - a combination of virtues which should carry him far. Although there were other works I would preferred to hear him play rather than Brahms F minor sonata, his program was both generous and enterprising in that it included a sonata by contemporary American composer, Donald Keats, and Bach's marvelous Partita No. 6 in E minor.
The major virtues of Westcott's Bach playing were clarity of articulation, phrasing, part playing, and rhythmic flexibility which was not at all out of place in the Partita's dance movements which lean strongly towards the French style. On the debit side the opening toccata lacked breadth in the rhapsodic episodes and interest was allowed to flag somewhat during the main fugal section. Happily, Keats' Sonata held my interest throughout. This is a splendid work and the recitalist merits thanks for including it in his program and for showing such sympathy with it. True there were Hindemithean overtones in the first movements and the lithe energy in the quick sections which occasionally reminded me of Prokoviev, but what shone through the total work was a lively exuberant imagination.
As for the Brahms sonata, Westcott's overall technical grasp of the work was mightily impressive with the many passages of restrained poetic beauty - some of them of a movement's length - being nicely integrated into the more stormy sections to form a satisfying whole. One such beautifully calculated bit of playing was the Intermezzo of the Andante expressive. In all, a very good recital.
Copied by Ben Serna-Grey
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