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Fiachra Garvey                                23rd August 2021 St. Mary’s Church Map

Irish pianist Fiachra Garvey returns to Luton with a stimulating and varied recital that climaxes with Rachmaninov’s passionate first piano sonata. This was a work originally inspired by the Faust legend, but the composer found it hard to harness such programmatic elements and the sketches soon became more abstract. He had moved to Dresden with his young family in the early years of the 20th Century to escape the distractions of Moscow, but this new large-scale work still did not come easily. He was also working on his second symphony at this time and this epic sonata shares that idiom of full blown Romanticism and sweeping rhetoric. The piano writing is as exhilarating as one would expect from one of the foremost instrumental virtuosos of his age and every page is suffused with typically rhapsodic melodic invention.


If Rachmaninov’s music is suffused with a degree of nostalgic nationalism so too is the music of Frederic Chopin. His turbulent Tragic polonaise in F sharp minor is imbued with the spirit of Poland and is dedicated to Princess Ludmilla de Beauveau, a prominent member of the Polish émigré community in Paris where the composer was living. If any sense of yearning for one’s homeland is a thread through the programme, this will also surely be evident in Fiachra’s interpretation of the Irish provenance of the C minor Nocturne by his countryman John Field.


Fiachra Garvey… brings a deep and infectious enthusiasm, combined with insight and technical comfort.’

Sunday Times

Sergei Rachmaninov – Three Nocturnes

Rod Moulds – Three Russian Songs

John Field – Nocturne no 2 in C minor   

Frederic Chopin – Polonaise in F sharp minor Tragic op 44


Sergei Rachmaninov – Sonata No.1 in D minor

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