Review Purcell Room recital, 25 November 1999

by Sharona on December 11, 1999

“Joshua’s fortepiano playing electrified the audience at the Purcell Room. Here at last is a player who can provide opposition to Staier’s hegemony in the field.”

Sharona Joshua (fortepiano) Purcell Room, 25 November 1999

The young fortepianist Sharona Joshua showed in her recital that she is not yet ready to fall into an easy contentment regarding playing style, all questions being settled. Rather, she is still questioning some of the accepted ‘practices’ that we so regularly hear. She showed this most clearly in her use of pedal, following through the musical line or phrase, a practice which added a beautiful colouristic patina to the tone. No more so than in the opening of Mozart’s Fantasy in c minor.

There would be a danger in following this technique through too systematically, but Joshua is too much of a musician to be so straitjacketed. It was obvious from her performance that careful consideration had been given to context each time the knee-lever was used.

Joshua’s fortepiano playing electrified the audience at the Purcell Room. Here at last is a player who can provide opposition to Staier’s hegemony in the field. Both fortepianists performed the Mozart in the same London season, inviting comparison. Whereas to my mind Staier’s playing is aggressive and somewhat neurotic, Joshua’s performance seemed bold and confident.

We eagerly await other concerts in which she will leave us invigorated and refreshed, and we can only hope that she will also turn her attention to some of the other performance features that are so easily taken for granted.

Harpsichord and fortepiano Magazine

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