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Claire Hammond

Strathearn Music Society Review – Clare Hammond (piano)

22 September 2021

For many people, one important step on the road to normality has been the welcome return of live music. Nowhere was this more evident than in the opening recital of Strathearn Music Society’s Concerts in Crieff series, where an enthusiastic audience gathered to hear pianist Clare Hammond in a concert rescheduled from March 2020.

The programme was innovative, but approachable, with Hélène Montgeroult, Szymanowski and W.G. Still sitting alongside Piazzolla and Brahms. Nestling in the middle was a new commission ‘Neanderthal Ballads’ by contemporary British composer Richard Barnard, which explores newly-discovered connections between modern and early humans.

Clare has been described as a pianist of ‘amazing power and panache’ (The Telegraph) and she did not disappoint. Her playing was by turns virtuosic, playful, forceful and tender, and demonstrated throughout a startling accuracy and clarity of tone. She was also a delightful advocate of the music, with well-chosen introductions and explanations for the less familiar pieces.

After more than a year of online performances only the evening was a reminder, should we have needed it, of how fortunate we are to have access to live music from such accomplished artists right on our doorstep.

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