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Miniature Music - Big Success

Ordinarily, those of us with even just a little sense would avoid putting on anything on a date so ominous as Friday 13th. Especially when that falls in October - Spooky Season. And especially when the year ends with a '3'.


OK, that last one was a straw clutch, but regardless it has to be noted that Mr Michael A Grant - who you may remember from such timeless blog posts as this - decided to do that very thing for the debut of his own suite of music (Miniatures for Piano - find out more about it on the blog post that is linked above!).


And given that Michael gained a degree in chemistry and now is an extremely accomplished woodwind player across all genres, I feel that he is not a character of little sense and argue therefore that he knew exactly what he was doing when choosing the date!


The Music: 'Miniatures' - composed by Michael A Grant, performed by myself.

The Venue: Emmanuel Church, Didsbury

The Date and Time: Friday 13th October, 8:00 pm



It is fair - very fair - to say that people do not like to take much of a chance on anything that is brand new. Anything that might even remotely fall under the category of 'classical' or 'piano concert' is already bordering on territory of putting what feels like 95% of the entire world off coming to us event organisers (NB we are not, in fact, event organisers - we merely have to take the reins on promoting our own!).


Yet at the risk of getting a small crowd of only people we know, Michael actually managed to pull together a small but intimate audience of 13 (anybody who has ever put together a local debut performance knows that that's good going!), many of whom were unknown to either of us and - presumably - local to the Didsbury area.


Thus began a concert of approximately 80 minutes. That's about 50 minutes of music performed by myself and 30 minutes of Michael giving a welcome and introductory commentary to each of his pieces. And despite my performances taking the majority there, it's fair to say that Michael was the star of this show because he were not directly in the limelight giving witty anecdotes of compositional technique, he would be prominent in every bar of his music.


I was very pleased that my performances, therefore, lived up to what he would have expected. In fact, in some cases - such as 'The Longest Night' or 'Cascades' - I probably exceeded any performance I've ever given before. Some of this I feel is because of the honour of what and where I was playing. What - a baby grand piano. Don't ask me what make. It probably said right in front of me. I took more notice of the music on my iPad throughout. Where - in a church. And anybody who has played even the grandest of pianos in an open space knows that it affects the dynamic massively. Firstly, ambience (a piece like 'Cascades' benefited massively from the beautiful, natural reverb) and secondly the dynamic itself never seemed overly harsh, perhaps largely due to the ambience, again. This meant that I had to give a bit of extra oomph to really recognise some of the forte notes or passages, but even without trying I achieved a satisfactory sound!


Harking back to Michael's commentary, it was interesting for my to learn more about the pieces - not just from his point of view as musician - but also from the point of view of the piece's reception. For example, Michael observed that his piece 'Affettuoso' was - generally speaking - a very simple piece. However, it is also the piece that received the most praise from the listeners and, consequently, the audience. 'Compost Frog', on the other hand, is a great fun piece that he wrote to be not deliberately complex but to focus only on one note at a time on the piano to create little harmony (any perceived harmony is merely from broken chords and melodic intervals), but I was not alone in being amused by the very Grant-ismic way he names certain pieces. 'Parting Waves' can simply mean goodbye, as I believe was a working title for that closing piece, but in his typical tongue in cheek manner he harked more to it being sound waves - the closing musical waves of the suite.


And as for 'Springs', I never even considered the bouncy nature of that the inspiration for its title. I immediately assumed it was a seasonal name. But regardless, my performance of it on Friday is one of a few videos that were captured:



Whilst the whole concert was not captured, you can see several videos of performances of snippets of on the 'Miniatures' playlist on my YouTube Channel.



Reception



I think the response spoke for itself. Everybody was engaged in Michael's commentary and the music. At the very least I received a round of applause for each piece individually (except for 'The Longest Night', as this one transitioned immediately into 'The Prayer' - so it was kind of a joint applause!).


But the real proof came afterwards because people were interested in all the goodies that Michael had to offer. Drinks coasters, scores and CDs / download codes - all of these were sold. More excitingly still, however, is the number of contact details that came back to him when he surreptitiously slipped a slip into each of the programmes asking for details so anybody willing to be updated with upcoming events can be. A mailing list, if you will! And I think most everybody filled one out!


I even got a copy of the score myself which is fantastic, having only really seen these scores on a screen it was a joy to see them 'in the flesh', as it were. Because anybody musical will vouch for the fact that absolutely nothing beats real printed music.


I also got a CD signed by Michael, so I feel like a bit of a millionaire in the making (just you wait).


So, all in all, it was a resounding success! Small, but extremely well received. And these first ones always are. If we were to do another one, Michael has a little more of a mailing list now so that will help, and it's all about getting established.


But as ever, the pieces were a joy to play whether to one person or to a hundred (probably. I'll get back to you when we reach that number!).


 

I will be posting about upcoming events too, so if you would like to be kept up to date about any future concerts then feel free to join my mailing list too!


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