3rd concert – Dame Imogen Cooper, piano St. John’s Church

Imogen Cooper’s concert was attended by one of the largest audiences of recent years, and she lived magnificently up to all expectations as one of the most distinguished and cherished pianists of our time.  Her programme with music by Schubert, Bach, Thomas Adès and Beethoven took us on a fascinating musical journey and it was a joy to hear the Society’s piano at its best in the acoustics of St. John’s. John Hughes has kindly sent a photograph and link to the review of the concert on his blog. 

Review of Imogen Cooper’s concert

A fabulous piano recital

Dame Imogen Cooper’s concert, her second visit to Keswick in the past 12 years, was exceptional. Keswick Music Society rarely features a concert by an artiste with such a long and distinguished performing career, recognised by Sir Simon Rattle as “one of the greatest musicians England has produced”.  The concert, in St. John’s Church Keswick on Saturday January 13th attracted an almost full house. The audience was thrilled by her playing, which exuded an extraordinarily high level of emotional content, ranging from the triumphant to the tragic and pretty well everything between, as the music progressed.

The first half of the concert featured solely Franz Schubert’s music. She started with an Allegretto in C minor, her elegant playing of the Society’s Steinway Model B piano in St. John’s excellent acoustic charmed the audience from the very first notes. She started on the first of Schubert’s Four Impromtus even before the audience had time to applaud. Many of us have recordings of the Schubert Impromptus, maybe even played by Imogen Cooper, but to hear her play this well-loved collection live in front of us was a particular treat. The audience responded attentively and with warm applause at the end of her scintillating playing.
Following two Chorale Preludes by J. S. Bach, played immaculately, Imogen Cooper introduced Darknesse Visible by Thomas Adès herself, bringing this recent piece, based on John Dowland’s lute song ‘In darknesse Let Me Dwell’ to a wider audience. She again played directly on to the Beethoven Sonata in A flat without a break, having discussed this programming with the previous composer.

After much applause from the appreciative audience, she played a short encore by Bela Bartok, one of his Four Dirges, which brought us gently back to earth.

Many thanks to Keswick Music Society for bringing this international artiste to the concert series. The next concert in the series, on February  24th at St. John’s will feature music by Debussy, Mozart, Janacek and César Franck, played by the exciting young violinist Charlotte Spruit with Angus Webster, piano.

Mike Town