Review: Tim Rumsey (piano) in Chichester Cathedral

Tim Rumsey, Chichester Cathedral, Nov 21

One can just sit and listen to what the music sounds like but there’s benefit to be had in knowing what it signifies. Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin is based on the baroque keyboard music of one or the other of them but is otherwise six pieces in memoriam of friends killed in WW1. Thus, it is related to the Enigma Variations, too, but moving between moods, it is rarely elegiac, ostensibly preferring to remember those men alive.

The Prelude is a mercurial outpouring of notes but Tim Rumsey is not flashy and it’s not overdone. I see that last year I said he had ’empathy and poise’ and he hasn’t changed in the interim.

There was more trace of the baroque template in the Fugue and then the Forlane was wistful and maybe playful. It was busy again in a more impetuous Rigaudon, lilting with a hint of nostalgia in the Menuet before the Toccata darted towards a finish that suggests Tim could deliver Liszt equally convincingly if need be but today had chosen not to.

He had begun with two Nocturnes by Fauré, nos. 4 and 5, that were sofly-lit reveries nuanced with pulses of passion, no. 5 more shadowy perhaps and extending to broader gestures but before the burst of energy to end on, it had been a recital of consummate consideration and artistry. However, the well-deserved encore threw any such caution aside to present the wide-open spaces and rapture of an exuberant arrangement by Alexis Weissenberg of Charles Trenet’s In April, In Paris and another year of Chichester lunchtimes left us there.

Time does pass so quickly when one is having a good time. 

David Green

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