Fifth International Festival of the Arts
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Jeffrey Grice's piano recital on 1 March. This was a splendid display of
fiery and imaginative pianism from the Parisian-based New Zealander, He began with
Chopin's Third Sonata, Op.58. While his playing of this massive work was not free from the
occasional smudge - in particular some slightly mis-judged pedalling - the performance
caught and held the attention so strongly that its half-hour duration seemed to pass in a
flash. Grice produced real weight of sound without hardness whenever it was required : not
at all an easy thing to achieve on the piano. He also displayed a lovely cantabile touch.
The melodic lines could truly be said to have sung. He had clearly put a great deal of
thought into the way he shaped the music and the over-all effect was compelling.
After the Chopin came a delicate and persuasive reading of Szymanowski's Four
Studies Op.4, followed by a virtuoso performance of Scriabin's Fifth Sonata. The
latter seemed much impassioned ado about very little, but the energy, bravura and poetry
of the playing transcended doubts about the work. Somehow I seem to have missed hearing
Jeffrey Grice on his previous visits. If this intelligently planned and imaginatively
executed recital is typical of his artistry, I can only regret the lost opportunities and
hope he returns again soon.
- Adrienne Simpson in Music in New