FringeReview UK 2018
Mike Hatchard’s a crossover pianist, with a Fringe show at last year’s Brighton Festival. At St Nicholas he plays classical and particularly Bach pieces, together with CPE Bach, Chopin, Beethoven and his own arrangement of Mozart’s Turkish March. And an encore ‘All the things you are’ halfway through.
Mike Hatchard’s known as a remarkable crossover pianist, with a Fringe show at last year’s Brighton Festival further enlarging his scope. Today at St Nicholas though he’s focused on classical and particularly Bach pieces, pieces that should be far more familiar but which despite their fame don’t crop up in recitals. Even in these days when Bach on the piano isn’t controversial.
Frist up were the first four of Bach’s two-part inventions, a musicianly exercise n pieces that seem a bit like a mini-48, though there aren’t so many. These pieces in C major and minor, and D major and minor, are enjoyable for their darting vivid chip of Bachian brilliance, darkening and slowing in the minor. As a set they’re satisfying and endlessly faceted – Janine Jansen memorably arranged the4m for violin a decade ago.
Hatchard followed that with the first Snfonia again in c major, a slightly longer flowing piece that acted as bridge to the Preludes and Fugues proper from Book 1. We got the troubled rapid scales f No. 2in C minor, memorably used in Florian Zeller’s play The Father to denote troubled, scrambled thinking. No.3 in C sharp major’s a rapid upbeat, wonderfully busy piece restating its case over and over (it’s a bit like his Bach’s son C. P. E. Bach whom we hear later) till the Fugue proper takes it; a dakrer mreo deliberate tread, not much slower. But No. 5 in D is an altogether sunnier experience, again rapid if not frenetic with a slower pulse beneath braking into sunshine. No. 6 in d minor returns us to the troubled elements in the minor-keyed No. 2. It’s not as haunted but here at least suggests the seriousness that opens in the fugue, like a meditation on next-last things.
Hatchard took a break from classical with ‘All the things you are’ in a wonderfully liquid contrast. He then resumed in C. P. E .Bach’s Sonata in A with its filigree rococo elements well-placed and finding in Hatchard an exponent who gets that quirkiness.
Chopin’s etude No. 2 was deleted because of time, and we got the Fantasie-Impromptu Op 66 played with an increasing sense of its dramatic compression – it’s shorter than Chopin’s other ate hybrid masterpieces and virtually his last work. Again we discovered a side of Hatchard not seen from the Bach, but then Chopin admired Bach himself.
Amazingly Hatchard then tackled the first movement of Beethoven’s early Sonata No. 4 in E flat called the ‘Grand Sonata’ his biggest by far for a while. Here he opened into the grand expansiveness of key and a certain youthful regality of tone. I really wish we could have heard him play the whole work.
Finally Hatchard treated us to a manic jazz take of his own collaborating with Mozart in his Turkish March. There’s a famous one by Fazil Say with additions fro arcady Volodos, played at the Proms on the 1st, with Yuja Wang. Hatchard’s isn’t quite as frantically layered as that but it’s pretty wacky and Mozart would have been delighted. It’d be good to see Hatchard back with his unique musicanship and his creative swing.