Review by Raymond Groves: Robert Weatherburn, Holy Trinity Church, Robertson Street, August 17
This well-attended and well-received performance of a collection entitled “The Undamped Piano”, was provided by the both widely and locally well-known pianist and composer, Robert Weatherburn, who played three of his own compositions arranged or written for solo piano – ‘Mnajdra’, ‘Mystra’, and the ‘Dreamtime Suite’.
In his informative opening talk Robert explained why he would play without the dampers that usually articulate, in time, individual notes from a piano.
The absence of damping enhanced the resonance already within the Church, so as to accentuate, or even realise, harmonic sequences inherently suggested within the music.
The three pieces presented both rolling and lyrical, so-atmospheric, musical impressions of three remotely-different, archaic cultures; each of which had independently developed its own unique system of religious and philosophical beliefs.
Thus, ‘Mnajdra’ provides impressions of Neolithic culture as conveyed from ancient, Maltese, temple ruins. ‘Mystra’ recapitulates ambiance from evocative relics of the last stronghold of Byzantine culture in the Greek Peloponnese.
And finally, the ‘Dreamtime Suite’ portrays ancestral beliefs about the origins of the Universe and the Earth; beliefs that still underlie the thinking of Aboriginal people within the performer’s homeland, Australia.
The undoubted success of these stirring compositions clearly owes much to the adventurous photographic and artistic pursuits of their pianist-composer.
Voluntary contributions were committed to the restoration of the wonderful church with its vibrant, stained-glass windows, and its bold, clean masonry; a church that provided a fine and appropriate venue for this enjoyable and thought-provoking concert – one of a succession of concerts to be credited to their efficient and far-sighted organisers.