For their third Three Sunday Afternoon At Three Thirty, Music For New Ross offered a new pianist on the block, the smouldering, edgy Francois-Frederic Guy, who looks sexy in his publicity stills. There really is an international push on to make classical music passionate and fashionable. Guy fits this moody and magnificent pattern as he sat at the piano casually dressed darkly, with tousled greying hair, a beard and as he played he seems to mouth the notes silently.
His programme was modern in approach and Beethoven influenced. Opening with Brahams Fantasien Op 116 you knew why his Symphony No. 1 was called Beethoven’s Tenth. These seven pieces mixed fiery passion with cold clinical technique.
Even Beethoven’s Piano Sonata Op 110 was very clinical as Guy explored the ten finger exercises until the final coda that was as powerful as Led Zeppelin pounding on the Stairway To Heaven.
After the interval we got the Schubert Piano Sonata in A major, that Schubert composed after the death of Beethoven’s in the style of the master. Written in the last three months of Schubert’s life, as syphilis ravaged his body and his sanity suffered from shock and rejection. Guy brought out powerfully the deep sadness, the rejection, the madness and violence that seemed trapped in the notes.
Stately notes and any playfulness in the Scherzo is hammered out in the famous Andantino that ranges from dreamy mesmeric chords to tense dramatic climaxes. Guy put his body and mind into the work and finished with a gentle crowd-pleasing opening passage from Moonlight Sonata.