Review of premiere

Norman V Dagg

Review of the premiere - Norman V Dagg

At the Wigmore Hall on December 18th, Meyer Rosenstein gave his first recital. He chose a difficult programme, the novelty of which was a first performance of Havergal Brian’s Four miniatures, followed by the same composer’s prelude, John Dowland’s fancy. These five pieces provided as grave technical difficulties as anything else in the programme. There is a genuine hint of elusiveness and mysticism in the Miniatures, two of which exactly fit the mood of Blake’s poems, to which they were originally set. It is a pity that the composer does not devote a little more of his genius to the piano, for this is vastly interesting music.

John Dowland’s fancy completely captures the idiom of former days; and contains some fugal writing played by the soloist with exemplary clarity. Indeed, clarity is one of Rosenstein’s chief virtues, another being an exceedingly capable left hand. Only in the Beethoven Sonata (the Waldstein) and in two of the Brahms items was his playing a little blurred in places, but music of this calibre requires experience as well as technique. The Mozart (K 311) and the Brian and Chopin groups showed the pianist at his best. There is no doubt that when his technique can be induced to become the servant and not the master of his interpretations, Rosenstein will give us some big music.