Having already commented on the piano tone, it was somewhat worrying to see it miked up this time, where every sound was now going to be amplified, and played back through the PA system – something that tends to make things worse, rather than better.
But due to the skill of sound engineer Will Hurdle, the enhancement worked a treat, never sounding harsh or artificially contrived throughout the performance.
Samuel had titled his recital When the Piano Sings, and sing it certainly did, with the potential for a greater sustain-time allowing for noticeably slower tempi, though which proved particularly effective in one of his early compositions, Watermouth Bay.
But this was not just another piano recital in the series, as the last two pieces proved. Samuel is as much at home in classical music as he is in jazz, and his rendition of John Coltrane’s Mr PC was quite a tour de force, both in terms of the performance, and his ability to play some four or five different instruments simultaneously – or at least with the assistance of one or two nifty pieces of electronics.
Even if his closing number – Love Divine – was perhaps as much about his faith as his singing, it proved a fitting and heartfelt conclusion to a most enjoyable mini-recital by this talented, and eminently personable recent Plymouth University Graduate – much to the delight of the impressively large audience.
PHILIP R BUTTALL
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