Charles Matthews and Colin Druce

January 16, 2015

Two international pianists playing on one keyboard not only requires a high level of dexterity but also a high level of confidence by both pianists. This was very evident at the January concert performed by local pianists Charles Matthews and Colin Druce. Charles is organist of St Catharine's Church, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire; he also works extensively with children, teaches piano at King's High School, Warwick, organ at the Birmingham Conservatoire and he works as conductor and contemporary music coach for the annual Curso Internacional Matisse at San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain. Colin studied piano and organ at Chester Cathedral and later at the Birmingham Conservatoire, where he won the BMI Organ Competition and the Ludlow Philharmonic Concerto Competition. He has often broadcast for radio and television from venues that include  Bristol,  Manchester, Chipping Campden, Warwick and Coventry.

They began the concert with two of Dvorak Slavonic Dances op 46 and 72, a popular medium for music-making in the home in the mid 1800’s. These were written for four hands on the piano and proving to be popular was later orchestrated by the composer. Also written for four hands was the Sonata in D major by Mozart which Charles and Colin performed effortlessly. Rachmaninof’s Barcarolle from six pieces and the popular song from Facade by William Walton completed the first half of the programme.

The second half of the programme was dominated by The Mother Goose suite by Maurice Ravel, a charming and most descriptive piece of music full of warmth and fantasies written by Ravel for the two children of his close friends. Very whimsical with a hint of sadness which Charles and Colin played with great feeling. They concluded the evening with the overture to the operetta “Poet and Peasant” by Franz von Suppe. The whole evening was a delight to listen to and amazing to watch as each played their part, often crossing over hands but without even a hint of getting in each others way. Whilst their dexterity was without challenge we have yet to find out which one had control of the pedals!

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