CLASSICAL MUSIC Martin Roscoe and Peter Donohoe Wigmore Hall, London
Thursday 10 July 1997
The first half of the programme was French music, and began with Debussy's En blanc et noir, which, if about anything at all, is about the First World War, and Debussy's patriotic feelings. It certainly got a suitably punchy performance, as far as that was compatible with Debussy's fastidious textures and cinematically condensed narrative. Donohoe and Roscoe have been playing together a long time, and their co-ordination was pretty well perfect. They're well matched, too, though Donohoe is marginally the heavier player. A sense of that took some time to emerge, though, because the second piece was Saint-Saens's Variations on a theme of Beethoven, which relies a lot on playful alternation and is characteristically transparent and scintillating.
The rest of the evening was all music that's familiar in orchestral form, as is a lot of piano-duo music. Ravel's nebulously atmospheric La Valse was unfurled with uncommon clarity, Roscoe's dissonant thumps representing the bass drum near the end nicely understated, and this performance probably made more linear sense than Ravel originally imagined. When he hopefully auditioned the piece to Diaghilev, the wily impresario praised it with a faint damn, calling it "a portrait of a ballet", as if it were a shadowy reflection of something precise. But piano versions of orchestral music tend to sound all too digital anyway, subsidiary effects and dissonances articulated all too clearly. So the long opening street-scene of Gershwin's An American in Paris seemed less casually cast off, more concrete than in its orchestral form. Donohoe had the big swooning tune - though, quite rightly, he didn't lose his head over it - and Roscoe got the rollicking homeward-bound number.
Strongly disciplined though the performance was, we needed the leaner, drier character of Copland's Danzn Cubano before plunging back into more Gershwin. This was Percy Grainger's Suite from Porgy and Bess, a medley that is sympathetic to Gershwin's own style. Donohoe scowled at a particularly noisy cougher, but was all smiles at the end. The audience roared, and got a ripping performance of Lutoslawski's Variations on a theme of Paganini as an encore. Adrian Jack
A The film has amassed an estimated $28.7 million in its opening weekend
A statement was published on his fansite, True To You, following release of new album
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Three of Pope Francis' relatives die in Argentina car crash, including two young great-nephews
- 2 Michael Brown shooting: Amnesty International sends team within US for first time as National Guard deployed
- 3 Here’s the damning letter Robin Williams wrote to his Mrs Doubtfire co-star's principal after they expelled her
- 4 Ferguson protests: 90-year-old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein ‘arrested’ by police during St Louis demonstrations
- 5 Cilla Black defends Cliff Richard: 'I am positive that the allegations are without foundation'
JK Rowling releases new Harry Potter story on Pottermore: Introducing Celestina Warbuck, the 'Singing Sorceress'
Best movies on Netflix UK and US: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
Reading Festival 2014: Tesco branch replaces salad and potatoes for Jagermesiter and vodka
Celebrity Big Brother 2014 contestants: Meet Kellie Maloney, formerly known as Frank Maloney
Kate Bush: Previously unseen photographs reveal new side to comeback star
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Ukip MEP calls for reintroduction of death penalty on fiftieth anniversary of last deaths
Russell Brand calls for Israel boycott: Comedian urges big businesses that 'facilitate the oppression of people in Gaza' to pull funding
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
World peace? These are the only 11 countries in the world that are actually free from conflict