REVIEW: Clare Hammond’s ‘no ordinary’ piano recital at Ely Cathedral

Clare Hammond performed a recital in Ely. Picture: Submitted

Clare Hammond performed a recital in Ely. Picture: Submitted - Credit: Archant

Clare Hammond’s piano recital was no ordinary event. A varied and in many cases a highly demanding programme kept the listeners in awe.

Clare has amazing technique. Note-perfect, her touch made it possible to distinguish easily between a smooth rippling background and strong thematic material. No matter how complex the work, Clare made clear sense of it.

The works included in the programme were ‘Four Impromptus’ by Franz Schubert and in each Clare demonstrated a firm touch, the ability to play very rapidly while never losing clarity.

She managed to capture the essence of Schubert’s style in which lyrical serene melodic material hid inner pain and suffering.

‘Presto’ (‘The Bee’s Wedding’) from Mendelssohn’s ‘Songs Without Words’ was one of the most challenging works for Clare’s amazing technique.

Her fingers flew as she evoked the unmistakeable sound of a bee buzzing.

‘Youth’ by Edmund Finnis offered ten images. The textures were spacious, the melodies clear and the atmospheres evocative.

Most Read

The pieces flowed with momentum and character creating moments of light, glitter, stillness and peace or pausing for effect.

After interval came Rimsky-Korsakov’s ‘Flight of the Bumble Bee’ which was a blur of fingers giving us little time to breathe followed by a selection of items from Claude Debussy’s ‘Preludes’.

In these Clare managed to use the piano as a painting pallet, colouring Debussy’ style well, melting Debussy’s soft chords and movements beautifully.

Yet another, very different, bumble bee then appeared in the form of Ewan Campbell’s ‘Flight of the Bumble Bee’ in which he mimic’s Rimsky Korsakov’s version but gives it more depth and a sting in the tail at the end.

Not satisfied with impressing us with her fantastic ability, Clare chose to end the concert with an even more challenging work which she mastered perfectly.

In Igor Stravinksy’s ‘Trois mouvements de Petroushka’ she revelled in its complex texture dramatic episodes and character’s antics.

Clare Hammond, born in 1985, is a British concert pianist. In 2016, she was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Young Artist award.

Hammond has performed in concert halls and at festivals across Europe, and is regularly broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and other European radio networks.

She has collaborated with artists including the Brodsky, Endellion, and Badke quartets, and Henning Kraggerud, Andrew Kennedy, Jennifer Pike, and Lawrence Power.

Hammond has a strong interest in Polish music and culture and co-curated a centenary festival for Andrzej Panufnik at King’s Place in London.