A Charming Touch

MIKE WHEELER listens to
Beethoven, Brahms, Granados and Mompou,
played by Ingrid Cusidó


Beethoven's Piano Sonata in D, Op 28, nicknamed 'Pastoral', from the relaxed manner of its opening movement, has one of the most undemonstrative openings of any of his piano sonatas. Ingrid Cusidó eased her way in at the start of her lunchtime concert as though the music was already in progress - Derby Cathedral, Derby, UK, 7 June 2019.

It was a charming touch, but on the whole her approach was rather unsmiling for such a laid-back piece, and she tended to focus on individual moments at the expense of its overall shape. It was a similar case with the second movement, though the jog-trot left-hand figures were held nicely steady, and she made of the final cadence a touching moment of withdrawal. There were hints of rhythmic instability in the third movement, and some moments in the finale that became almost a scramble. The second of Brahms' Six Pieces, Op 118, felt even more wayward, with tempo fluctuations that seemed to go against the grain of the music.

Ingrid Cusidó
Ingrid Cusidó

Her approach was better suited to the contrasts of register in 'The Lover and The Nightingale' from Granados' Goyescas. ('Quejas, o La Maja y el Ruiseñor', the original title, is usually given in English title as 'The Maiden and the Nightingale', though if I understand the term maja correctly, 'maiden' is probably not the most appropriate translation.) She made the main theme's plaintive quality sing out, with the nightingale cadenza at the end sounding appropriately aloof.

Ingrid Cusidó
Ingrid Cusidó

She was also at home in the rondo structure of Granados' more flamboyant Allegro de Concierto; her delicacy in high-lying passages was a particular delight. For the first of her two encores - I wasn't able to stay for the second - she turned to another Catalan composer, Federico Mompou, vividly differentiating the two sections in the second of his fourteen Cançons i danses.

Copyright © 17 June 2019 Mike Wheeler,
Derby UK


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