Part of our Sounds of Nature programme
‘Spectacular musicianship and technical brilliance’ – The Scotsman
James has been working on putting together this programme for the last few years. It includes a huge variety of pieces, from classical to contemporary, many written in the romantic era or earlier, and all inspired by the environment. Messaien literally transcribes the Wood Lark’s song and uses it as a basis for his piece. There are works inspired by water, stormy weather, Moths, and even Goldfish! There is The Gnat by Couperin, Moths by Ravel, and Landscape, Snow Storm and Beside a Spring by Liszt. These works extol the wonders and beauties of nature. Central to the recital then, is the placement of these works against The forest, the strand, the sea… by LeFanu; a work which explores the more gritty realities facing the natural world today. An audible representation of the contrast between idealism and current reality.
James Willshire has developed a reputation for his brilliant interpretations of British and French music. He has appeared as soloist at the Royal Festival Hall, Barbican, Bridgewater Hall, St John’s Smith Square, Purcell Room, Palau de la Musica (Petit Palau), Glasgow City Halls, Queens Hall Edinburgh, Perth Concert Hall, St George’s Bristol, Caird Hall and the Fairfield Halls. A specialist in the music of Debussy, in 2018 James performed the complete cycle of the composer’s solo piano music. These concerts, described by The Herald Scotland as “an unmissable opportunity to hear these demanding pieces live”, included complete cycles in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and individual concerts in the Leeds International Concert Season and at Chetham’s School of Music. James’s interest in Debussy extends beyond performing and he has given talks on Debussy and his piano music, with a special focus on Debussy’s unique approach to sound.