A rare opportunity to hear the composer talk about and play his own music. Simeon Walker is halfway through a tour of 28 recitals in the UK promoting his recent projects. His programme is a refreshing change from the usual fare of St. Patrick’s music series. His first Impromptu was serene; he started playing with the minimum of ceremony, his music coming as if from nowhere as the daylight faded through the windows of the old church set in the rural beauty of the Lake District.
St. Patrick’s Church, Patterdale enjoys a Blüther baby grand piano which Simeon Walker played with as sweet a tone as I have heard there. His music complements the instrument, he explained that the style of these pieces is as much about the gaps between the notes as the notes themselves, but it certainly helps if the notes he plays are iridescent as his music evolves.
Simeon Walker apologised for bringing us what he called his “melancholic music” on our Saturday night rather than uplifting pieces, this is partly as he wrote much of this music during the lockdowns. These are short pieces with some inner technical complexity but this is not just mood or trance music, he was able to explain the intellectual argument underpinning these pieces as well as how the emotions play out.
Simeon Walker’s recital shared with us his reflections as well as allowing us to forget the hurly-burly of the busy worlds we live in for an hour or so of escapist contemplation in this beautiful location. However, his music doesn’t offer any resolution: like therapy, the way out is left as an exercise for the patient. Thus the last piece he played he has titled “Compline”, taking its name and mood from the last service of the monastic day from whence the monks return to contemplation.