tue 28/01/2020

Joanna MacGregor, Wigmore Hall/ Sol Picó, Sadler's Wells Theatre | reviews, news & interviews

Joanna MacGregor, Wigmore Hall/ Sol Picó, Sadler's Wells Theatre

Joanna MacGregor, Wigmore Hall/ Sol Picó, Sadler's Wells Theatre

The double-decker evening - follow a dance show with a late concert

Joanna MacGregor: She turned Bach and Shostakovich into something like electronic piano music

The two-course evening out is made possible by the Wigmore Hall’s late Friday-night concerts, so if you get out of a central-London show - or dinner - by, say, 9.30, you can add a second layer of entertainment at 10. In my case, a ferociously poor hour spent at contemporary dance in Sadler’s Wells was offset by an hour with Joanna MacGregor in a stimulating splicing of Bach and Shostakovich piano music that at least offered something to think about, if not ultimate satisfaction. Evening not entirely wasted, then.

The overpedalled soft-focus, where you long for pellucidity, seemed to me insufficient for either Bach or Shostakovich

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It seems that you too are guilty of what you accuse your electric keyboard player of, substituting flash in the pan style for truly considered critical interpretation - your closing words, 'I'd suppose they would need a head of piano too' may display some stylish, or rather stylised writing but certainly nothing more than that. An age old argument, but I feel it unfair of you to dub MacGregor another 'jazz fascinated' pianist in a concert exploring the influence of or musical relationship between Bach and Shostakovich. Shostakovich was reflecting and no doubt wondered about his reflection as he reflected and so too was MacGregor. You seem to recognise the reflection of Shostakovich on Bach but not of MacGregor on the two of them and instead dismiss it as 'something else'. A 'something else' that apparently amounts to no more than electronic keyboard music. MacGregor is indeed a communicator and everything that implies - a thinker, speaker, listener, reflector. She probably just blanked you. I would. (See, I can do it too.)

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