For Tallis Barker the long road to becoming an accomplished pianist began at the age of only four, which is impressive even if he did not compose his first piece of music aged seven. Barker clearly has a passion for "high" music given his fascination with the father of modern classical music, Beethoven. Beethoven is by far my favourite composer so I was enthralled to sample two of his pieces with which I was unfamiliar.
The concert began with "Andante Favori" which is a delightful little piece reminiscent of Mozart and Haydn. One could have pictured Miss Elizabeth Bennet strolling in a park with D'Arcy on a warm summer's day.
The second piece, "Sonata Op. 57, 'Appasionata'", by contrast, is dark, powerful and fantastic! Of course it is a well-known adage that the most beautiful music is that which tells a story of sadness and suffering. This piece could have described the passionate and forbidden love of Heathcliff for Catherine.
The second half of the concert was composed (no pun intended) of "Sposalizio" by Liszt, two songs ("Why..." and "Cradle Song") by Tchaikovsky transcribed for the piano by Barker himself and, finally, "Polonaise-Fantaisie Op. 61" by Chopin. These were all delicately pleasant but anti-climactic after Beethoven's sheer brilliance. Perhaps the Beethoven pieces ought to have been performed last.
Tallis Barker is an excellent young pianist who has won prizes such as the International Stravinsky Awards. Well worth a listen (NB: he has another concert due at the Holywell Music Room on the 18th of July). A bright future, in all likelihood, awaits him.