Horsham Music Circle: An Evening with Harry the Piano & Friends/The Causeway Barn, Horsham

Harry the Piano
Harry the Piano

Review by Jane Thomas

Three musicians and a piano!

Harry is always a draw – as exemplified by the full-house in the lovely setting of the Causeway Barn. Add Horsham’s favourite soprano, Jill Elsworthy, together with Edward Dean – who has proved himself as adept on piano as on organ, and you end up with a delightful and relaxed evening rather in the style of a Schubertiad.

There was a pattern to proceedings, in that Harry’s brilliant impro-chats were interspersed by songs from Jill: Warlock, Ireland & Grainger in the first half, Novello, Rodgers & Hart, Kosma and Kern in the second half – but we also had some real Warlock piano gems from Edward. We all know the Capriol Suite, but the Folk Song Preludes should surely be better known. They could hardly have been better played, or with more persuasive charm!

There was also a connection to Sussex (however tenuous!) in the programme, and the introductions were an integral part of the evening’s success. Jill is equally at home with her beloved English Song and nostalgic Americana, and the rapport between her and both pianists was palpable. I have previously described her as matchless, and it’s hard to beat that, but her performances are always a joy.

As for Harry – well, he camouflages his superb technique with an easy cabaret persona coupled with showman improvisation skills; but boy, can he play! The Gershwin tribute, all rhapsody and rhythm, was quite simply stunning!

Review by Jane Thomas