Although the Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition is not due to formally begin until February 2022, the organisers, thanks to the current relaxation of Covid restrictions, were able to give a taste of what is to come with a launch concert last Friday, October 8, to announce the return of this popular and prestigious event after its absence this year due to the pandemic.
If the launch at the White Rock Theatre was anything to go by, we are certainly in for a treat in February. Along with former HIPCC prize winner Maxim Kinasov was the European Union Chamber Orchestra who, unlike the politicians in Brussels, have clearly forgiven us for Brexit and played sublimely both as an accompaniment to the piano and on their own.
An opening piece – Holst’s St Paul’s Suite – showed the string section of the orchestra, led and conducted by Darragh Morgan, in all its virtuosity, and was followed by Maxim Kinasov giving a beautifully modulated performance of Mozart’s popular piano concerto K.488. Joined now by brass and woodwind, the orchestra provided the perfect backdrop for the pianist who demonstrated perfectly his understanding and feeling for the music. That the audience appreciated his undoubted talent was shown in the ovation he received as the final notes died away.
Following an interval we were treated to a session by the orchestra alone playing first, Faure’s Nocturn – a short but delightful piece that led on to Tchaikovsky’s Op.48, Serenade for Strings.
If the surroundings of the stage, with no backdrop, were perhaps a little severe, this was more than made up for by the quality of the evening’s performances. As an example of what is to come, then certainly the main event next year is going to be worth the wait.
Image Credits: HIPCC .