The Don Huntley Memorial Piano Recital at the Wendouree Centre for Performing Arts last Saturday evening was a night of elegant piano music performed by one of Australia’s finest musicians Caroline Almonte. With a perfectly prepared, mostly Romantic program the promise of a great evening was fulfilled.
The proceedings commenced with year 12 student Jing Zhang presenting a highly polished performance of the Chopin Nocturne in Gm Op.37/1 and a Haydn sonata, after an exquisite Roy Agnew prelude.
Caroline Almonte started her program with the first set of Schubert’s impromptus. The variety and depth of tone colours were created and supported by a flawless technique as the music moved from the dramatic Cm to the whirlwind Eb major and then the introspective Gb third impromptu. The mystery of the fourth piece was fully realised as a powerful conclusion to the set. The third Chopin scherzo followed seamlessly with a perfect balance of power and delicate filigree.
The Sonatina of Australian composer Moneta Eagles was a welcome addition to the program. This classically structured but sadly neglected work deserves greater recognition. Almonte’s performance brought out the dramatic harmonies of the first movement, the melancholy of the pastoral slow movement and the cheekiness of the finale. The night ended with the lyricism and exciting fireworks of Liszt’s “Gondoliera” and “Tarantella” from his Venice and Naples Years of Pilgrimage.