Piano Sonata No.5 (1986) Composed during August and September 1986, Lipkin’s Piano Sonata No.5 was commissioned by Jeremy Carter, who gave its first performance at the Great Comp Festival in 1989. The work is dedicated to the memory of Gordon Green, with whom Lipkin studied when he was a boy, and of whom Jeremy Carter was a pupil over thirty years later.
The dramatic first movement contains music of considerable ferocity. Extreme dynamic contrasts, tremolos marked ‘blatant’ in the score and sequences of repeated chords rising to triple forte all serve to create an intense, heated atmosphere. A gentle, measured, fanfare-like motif presented in the second and fourth bars serves as the principal thematic material, fractured or extended in later incarnations, but deeply expressive on its final appearance. Also picking its way perilously through this volatile musical narrative is a recurring series of slowly fluctuating chords, heard at their most vibrant and bell-like in the movement’s spaciously expressive closing bars.
Writing about the Piano Sonata no.5, Christopher Headington referred to an ‘uncompromising quality in the composer’ and declared that the piece ‘demands the virtuoso skill and pianistic panache of a Pollini or Richter, so that one fears lesser pianists may shy away from the sonata's difficulty, however much they may be attracted to it’, although he conceded that ‘any pianist whotakes up this work will have deserved musical reward’.
Nathan Williamson performs at many leading venues as soloist and chamber musician, composes new work for a wide variety of artists at home and abroad, and directs performance and education and outreach projects on a local and national level. Recent performance highlights include the complete Beethoven Concertos with the Prometheus Orchestra, the premiere of Christopher Brown’s 24 Preludes and Fugues, international tours with the renowned new music ensemble Piano Circus, and a detailed exploration of piano works by Malcolm Lipkin culminating in the present CD.