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Malvern Concert Club: Danny Driver
25th October 2018 7:30 pm
Danny Driver, piano
J S Bach Prelude & Fugue in F sharp minor, BWV 883 (from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2)
J S Bach Partita No.1 in B flat major, BWV 825
J S Bach French Suite No.5 in G major, BWV 816
Rachmaninov Étude Tableau Op.39, No.2 in A minor
Ravel Le Tombeau de Couperin
Medtner Sonata No.9 in A minor, Op.30
Danny Driver first played at Malvern Concert Club in January 2016 and quickly became a firm favourite with our audience. His reputation has been steadily rising in recent years, and he is now quite rightly regarded as one of the finest players in the UK. ‘There is never anything ostensibly showy about Driver’s playing, though he has a formidable technique at his disposal. His was an ultra-sensitive, classically restrained yet highly expressive response to the first movement’s opening mood of serenity, with superb articulation and a lovely tone quality. As the emotion of the music deepened, so did Driver’s range of expression expand, though in the most natural, sympathetic manner’, [Alan Sanders, Seen & Heard International, in a recent concert review].
Tonight’s programme is in two contrasting halves. The first is devoted to Bach’s keyboard music, somewhat neglected by the Club in recent years. ‘J S Bach’s Fifth French Suite was full of personality, with ornamentation daringly abundant. There was a palpable sense of enjoyment of the physicality of Bach’s writing’, [Harriet Smith, Financial Times, on Danny Driver’s performance at St John’s, Smith Square].
The second half brings together pieces composed during the first world war. In Le Tombeau de Couperin Ravel dedicated each movement to a friend who died in the conflict. Nikolai Medtner’s compact single-movement sonata is untitled, but was given a footnote, ‘During the War 1914-1917’: its disjointed rhythms and hyperactive virtuosity might have been somehow inspired by the conflict. Medtner’s much better-known contemporary Rachmaninov (they were students together) wrote the Études-Tableaux of Op.39 just before leaving Russia for good in 1917.