Martin Roscoe (piano)

Martin Roscoe, one of the UK’s best-loved pianists, played for Cockermouth Music Society in January and began with a Beethoven Sonata (Op 14, No 2); a beautiful performance of a piece which is uncharacteristically gentle for this composer. Schubert’s Sonata in D (D 580) which followed, however, is typically Schubertian in its contrasts of great bursts of excitement mixed with lyrical passages. The second half was a revelation for anyone who did not know the music of Polish composer Szymanowski, here contrasted with that of the earlier great Polish musician, Chopin. Szymanowski’s Three Preludes from Opus 1 were set next to Chopin’s Prelude Op 45 and mazurkas and polonaises by each composer followed. Roscoe’s interpretation of all this wonderful music showed it to be full of tonal colour and beauty and certainly seemed to indicate a progression and development in musical thought from the earlier composer to the later which was fascinating to contemplate. Roscoe’s performance of Chopin’s Heroic Polonaise Op 53 was particularly gripping and explosive. It felt as if the Polish cavalry were thundering through the United Reformed Church at full gallop! The evening was also enlivened by the pianist’s informative and amusing introductions to the music, which were much appreciated by a large audience.