Review of 'An Evening with Harry the Piano' presented by Horsham Music Circle

For the 8th time over a span of 30 years, Harry the Piano returned to the Horsham Music Circle for a programme full of surprises.
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A staggering amount of repertoire was covered, each accompanied by a charming and stimulating commentary about Harry’s connection to the music: whether it be performing for royalty; in famous London clubs; or writing his own variations and compositions dedicated to his wife – an impressive resume was put on display for us.

After a warming medley of Christmas tunes – for which each song was performed in the style of various classical composers – and a wonderfully comic and witty Kellogg's jingle in the style of Mozart, we were presented with a set of miniatures first performed by Harry in connection to conductor Rainer Hersch's podcast ‘Proms in the Pub.’ Depending on the main features of the week, Harry was tasked with improvising a musical crossover between two of the pieces, thus creating an alternative world where Schubert composed ‘Carmina Burana – O’ Fortuna’ and Tchaikovsky wrote his ‘Nutcracker suite’ in the style of Bob Marley’s ‘I Shot the Sheriff.’ Harry’s brilliance managed to transform Greco-Roman mythology into German pastoral scenes and even graced us with his take on Beethoven’s supposed inner-monologue that would eventually lead him to compose his great 5th symphony. Each piece was created with so much thought and impressive genius, it was hard not to revel in delight.

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In the second half, Horsham Music Circle’s Hon. Secretary, Jill Elsworthy, joined Harry for two items: ‘Autumn Leaves’ and ‘I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.’ Jill’s clear and warm tone blended with Harry’s flowing harmonic lines perfectly, working together in consonant harmony. Harry’s quip interplay and brief intermissions of other Christmas songs broke-out during the second number couldn’t help but leave smiles on the face of the audience.

Harry the Piano delights the Horsham Music Circle audienceHarry the Piano delights the Horsham Music Circle audience
Harry the Piano delights the Horsham Music Circle audience

To finish off this wonderful evening, Harry turned to the audience to take requests “limited only by your imagination,” to which the audience certainly did not disappoint: requests ranging from reggae-style Liberty Bell to Pink Panther in the style of Vivaldi. A medley of great proportions was collectively composed by the audience to be thoughtfully and diligently executed by Harry who, once the requests stopped, began playing in an instant. A frenzy of spirited musical characters fighting in a never-ending battle to prevail as the victor. The improvised links between the requests were just as smart and effective too, carrying just as much intended character as the latter. Harry managed to capture a great collage of musical portraits; fragmented then further reassembled in a combined and renewed item. An ever-morphing entity of musical prowess, ultimately finishing in a cadence of cheer and applause from the delighted audience.