Simply Wow! And How?

What a wonderful time I was treated to on Sunday afternoon. In exchange for nothing more than a ten minute walk along the soggy streets of Colchester and a donation at the church door, I got to hear some amazing and moving music played by an incredible and approachable pianist.

This performance of his Music In Remembrance program was the first time I’d heard Nicholas McCarthy. He’s a one handed pianist, and to my ears he made the concept of two handed piano playing seem like the concept of three handed shoelace tying: somewhat alien and of questionable purpose. Within seconds, he transformed the instrument into something which is meant for, and always has been meant for, one hand.

Moreover he comes across as welcoming and passionate about the music. He gave every piece an interesting introductions and stayed around for anyone who wanted to chat afterwards. I have a young and developing interest in classical music (and in one handed piano playing as it goes) – and I couldn’t have found better evidence that the genre needn’t be stuffy or elitist.

My personal favourites were Nimrod (which I’ve never heard on the piano before); Ave Maria (beautiful); and Der Erlkönig (dark, powerful and extremely difficult to play).

All in all a dazzling experience. I heartily look forward to more.


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