Playing on the Edge: Beaumont Delivers a Fantastic Piano Recital

April 3, 2013

By: Jason Caron

There was a busy weekend for Canadian music in Toronto in mid-March, with centenary celebrations for John Weinzweig at the University of Toronto, an Array concert, and an all Canadian piano recital by Dr. Réa Beaumont at the Glenn Gould Studio.

The latter was quite a stacked program, featuring pieces spanning almost an entire century of Canadian music, written by some of the country's most prominent composers. These composers included the centenarian himself, John Weinzweig, two other composers celebrating centenaries, Violet Archer and Barbara Pentland (I'm sure who are getting their due attention in other parts of the country), Chan Ka Nin, Jean Coulthard, Colin McPhee, Alice Ping Yee Ho, and Walter Buczynski. The program reads like a history lesson!

Dr. Beaumont is a pianist of world-class technique. Some of the sound effects in the opening Weinzweig number, Netscapes, were very well executed, particularly the repetitive sweep in the high register near the conclusion of the piece. The program was also possessed of a very intense focus, particularly in Jean Coulthard's commanding Requiem (Threnody).

The highlight of the program was Small Pieces for a Shrinking Planet by Barbara Pentland, no doubt owing to Dr. Beaumont's intimate and personal connection with the life and music of Barbara Pentland. In one movement she conveys a gentle ebb and flow so vividly. I must admit, it is a bit of a feat to keep my attention for solo recitals... I am often far too unfocused to appreciate one instrument at a time. Dr. Beaumont, however, is clearly aware of the secret that makes a piano recital engaging and interesting.

To find more information on Dr. Beaumont you can visit her website.