Lliam Patterson Recital: Hindemith, Leighton and Bach

MEGAN KENNEDY sacrifices her lunch for a concert and is surprisingly happy about it all.

Bach culc cums free hindemith lieghton lliam paterson lunchtime concert West Road Concert Hall

1.10pm, Tuesday 31st January, West Road Concert Hall, Free (Donations to CUMS)


At one o’clock on a Tuesday afternoon I can normally be spotted power walking down the length of West Road, the memory of the morning’s lectures abandoned in the faculty building to make way for my sole midday purpose: lunchtime.

This particular Tuesday, however, I found myself making a detour (much to my stomach’s anguish) to the West Road Concert Hall to attend my first Lunchtime Concert, a weekly event held by the university’s Musical Society which showcases the finest talent Cambridge has to offer. And all for a small money donation.

This week was the piano performance of Fitzwilliam student Lliam Paterson, treating the audience to a programme of diverse pieces belonging to Hindemith, Leighton and Bach. A personable performer, Lliam introduced his concert by giving some background information about Kenneth Leighton, the 20th century composer whose works made up half of the concert. The fifty minutes that followed were pleasantly understated, the large stage inhabited only by Lliam, his trusty page-turner and a sleek Steinway.

The inclusion of Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in G major was a curious choice to be sandwiched in between what was otherwise a Hindemith and Leighton-based concert, suggesting that perhaps it was chosen to attract the more fair-weather culture vultures (such as myself) who need a familiar name to draw them in. You know what to expect with Bach, and Lliam’s performance of the Prelude and Fugue did not disappoint. As with all of the pieces during his performance, he remained composed throughout, the technicalities of the music only being revealed by the flicker of his eyes glancing at the sheet-music and the frequent swoop of his page-turner’s arm to get to the next note in time.

Of the more unfamiliar works, Leighton’s Conflicts: Fantasy on Two Themes was a definite highlight with, as its title suggests, violent changes in tempo and emotion a key feature. An audience member sat nearby could not help but tap out the temperamental rhythm changes as they occurred, which to me summed up the beauty of these lunchtime concerts. The audience members want to be there. Rather than being a group made up of a couple of the performer’s friends who were guilt-tripped into attending, the Lunchtime Concerts are attracting an appreciative audience of all ages and backgrounds which clearly shows their developing reputation. Despite this, the Concert Hall seemed disappointingly empty. Whilst this provides an intimate setting and the feel of a well kept secret, the talent of the performers means that they deserve a larger audience still.

I walked out of the concert feeling calm and stress-free: I’d made a good choice. It was definitely worth sacrificing a lunchtime for – and that’s not something I say very often.

Next week the CUCO Wind Ensemble will be performing Mozart’s ‘Gran Partita’.