LABELS: Music & Media
WORKS: Chopin: Études – selection; Andante spianato et grande polonaise brillante etc; Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody No. 1; La campanella; Six Consolations etc
PERFORMER: Dominic Piers Smith (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: MMC 102
It’s not often one encounters an impressive virtuoso recital by a team leader of a Formula One aerodynamics design group, but Dominic Piers Smith is just such a figure. More to the point, he was the winner of the 2007 Yamaha Competition.
He has a ‘big’, polished technique, and though he can unleash tsunamis of sound it’s never at the expense of a beautiful tone (he has, indeed, a quite exceptional grasp of pianistic colour). His palette, while always idiomatic, is essentially orchestral in character. He is a painter, not a jeweller, though he is capable, too, of great delicacy.
On the whole, he tends to deal in great washes or sparkling aural mists, sometimes overlooking matters of textural clarity and rhythmic momentum. In the Revolutionary Etude, for instance, the turbulent rhythmic urgency of the left hand is somewhat tamed by a surprisingly ‘accompanimental’ treatment in which detail is blurred into (albeit very effective) surging waves – transforming a cry, even a shriek, of despair and anger into a dramatic ‘sea picture’.
Then, too, his expressive and dramatic vocabulary lacks sufficient variety. As one listens, his playing takes on a certain predictability, not only in the accompaniments, but also in his approach to melodic inflection and phrasing. Much promise. Much still to await. Jeremy Siepmann