“…displayed not just his brilliant technical ability but also his mature musicianship.”

St Barrahanes Church

Playing in the beautiful acoustic of St Barrahane’s, Fiachra Garvey, the highest-placed Irish pianist at last year’s AXA International Piano Competition, showed just why he was so highly regarded by the jury. This, the third recital of this year’s Festival of Music was a virtuoso performance, given with aplomb, by an astonishingly unassuming young man of enormous talent. He chose a remarkably challenging programme, marred only by the lack of information about the music in the programme book, and displayed not just his brilliant technical ability but also his mature musicianship.

Opening with six of the pieces from Debussy’s 2nd book of Etudes that explore every aspect of chromatic scales, embellishments, repeated notes, opposing sonorities, arpeggios, and huge chords, he showed himself a master of each, creating excitement, atmosphere, and, using different qualities of touch, led his listeners into Debussy’s distinctively different musical world with supreme understanding. In Das Abends, the first of the eight movements in Schumann’s Fantasiestucke, Op 12, we got the first real chance to hear what a lovely singing tone this young man can produce and the first glimpse of his youthfulness. This was a young player’s performance, passionate, soaring, occasionally a little self indulgent, but always exciting and totally committed. This young man has a very bright future.