Andreas Boyde’s discography
(he is an exclusive Athene
artist) has in the past left me untouched. It was, therefore, a
pleasing surprise that Boyde’s Wigmore recital revealed a more communicative
musician with much to say in his chosen repertoire.
The programme worked well: perhaps
the most interesting aspect was the inclusion of Hindemith’s Suite
1922, Op. 26. Boyde presented the five sections with great character,
taking evident delight in emphasising the slightly manic and obsessive
side of Hindemith’s personality. The first movement is a recognisably
Germanic evocation of a March distorted through a Commedia dell’arte
prism. Boyde was especially touching in the nocturne-like fourth movement
(‘Boston’). In a curious self-inflicted paradox, Boyde’s own programme
notes refer to the final movement’s Ragtime as ‘distorted beyond
recognition’, but curiously his performance made the evocation of honky-tonk
all the more obvious.
The Hindemith contrasted well with
the performance of Ravel’s Miroirs, which opened proceedings.
Boyde is an accomplished colourist, but to his credit refused to over-luxuriate
in Ravel’s Impressionist world. If his Oiseaux tristes precariously
trod the line of musical disjunction and disintegration, his Une
barque sur l’océan was an exciting maritime evocation. The
triumph here was Alborada del gracioso, where he kept the virtuoso
element solidly within the remit of the piece.
Boyde’s Pictures is evidently
a reading borne of much thought. The opening ‘Promenade’ was distinctly
lyrical. No bold Russian proclamation of intent in bold strides here,
rather the beginning of a long journey through various emotional states
(responses to Hartmann’s pictures) which formed a logical progression
to ‘The Great Gate of Kiev’. By saving his power until later in the
piece, it was left to Boyde’s powers of characterisation to maintain
interest. The ’Market Square (The Big News)’ chattered with women whose
penchant for gossip would put Hilda Ogden in the shade; ‘Catacombs’
was laid bare in a completely unapologetic fashion which emphasised
the modernity of Mussorgsky’s writing.
Boyde’s myriad touches projected
well, all the way to the critics’ seats tucked away right at the back
of the hall.
Boyde’s representation on disc possibly
does not express the breadth and variety of his touch, nor his evident
musical presence. This was a very worthwhile recital and I look forward
to hearing more live performances from this pianist.