Tanya Bannister reviews
Tanya Bannister, an exceptionally talented young pianist…is fortunate to have three attractive composition commissioned for her…and well recorded. …Bannister plays all these with a scintillating tone and a subtle sense of chording and dynamics. A beautiful piano tone is a rare thing these days, and she has it.”
-American Record Guide
Issue 32:6 July/Aug 2009
Tanya Bannister plays the piano with an energy and command of color that dares the listener not to be delighted. And so I was, although I found her program to be a mixed bag, with too much emphasis on backward-looking new music. David Del Tredici (here rather grandly, and I think inaccurately, referred to as the father of neo-Romantic music!) takes Satie as a leaping off point for three more Gymnopédies, and although he violates the original conception of brevity and focused simplicity in his own music, his endearing lyrical voice carries the day. Christopher Theofanidis simply does not possess a similar sense of imagination and originality, and his little suite of four works comes of as hackneyed and sentimental (although Bannister does find a Prokofiev-like intensity in the final number, labeled “threatening”).
Suzanne Farrin’s 2005 This is the story she began, that title inspired by Ovid, has a fantasy-like construction, with a harmonic sensibility that suggests Messiaen. It is music of concision, power, and no little beauty, especially in the hands of Bannister. Sheila Silver takes French impressionism as a starting point for her preludes, especially the first one, which is evocative of the sea. Her horizons expand from there, as the inspiration of nature takes her into the realm of dream-like meditation and more adventuresome harmonies. The clarity of her writing, though, never shuts out the listener, allowing for a relatively easy access to her ample imagination.
Connecticut Post, October 2009
The Greenwich Symphony opened its 2009-10 season last weekend with a tribute to Abraham Lincoln, marking the 200th anniversary of his birth with a performance of Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait.” Copland wrote this piece in 1942 as part of a series of commissions to celebrate famous Americans.
Robert Sherman, who has been with classical music radio station WQXR for more than 50 years, joined the orchestra as narrator. In the pre-concert talk, Sherman said that it was the composer’s wish that the narration “succeed not through acting but through the voice alone.” Sherman succeeded with this endeavor. His virtuosity is in his sense of timing and the way he paced the allocation for each narrated segment. He spoke with clarity and developed the power of the message from a sense of sincerity. It was a refreshing interpretation.
The Greenwich Symphony, conducted by Music Director David Gilbert, set a strong background for Sherman. The music was poised and dramatic, punctuating the text in coordinated silences and precise swells.
To close the first half of the program, pianist Tanya Bannister joined the orchestra as soloist in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23, K. 488, in A-major. She played with kaleidoscopic touch. Bannister found many ways to shade lines and articulate ideas that shifted from the surface into deeper layers of the musical fabric. Her first-movement cadenza opened with Mozartian gestures before becoming stormy in a central passage and flashy at the point just before the trills sewed the movement back into place.The orchestra was not always focused and sounded heavy. As an example, the wind entry moments before the close of the Andante was loud, and crushed the delicate pizzicato texture of the strings and the witty line that Bannister was voicing. There were stronger moments in the Presto finale, where the ensemble rallied and sprinted, along with Bannister, to a rousing conclusion.
Tanya’s review of her Kennedy Center performance:
“Bannister played with intelligence, poetry and proportion … was particularly impressed by the way she gave all the Brahms variations their own splendid little lives and characters while yoking them firmly into a grander totality . ” Tim Page from the Washington Post (29th January 2007).