By PRISCA SAM-DURU
Pianist Babatunde Sosan made an indelible impression at his piano recital “Romantic Classics” held last week at the Muson Centre. In an attempt to relive the memories of his mentor and instructor Raymond Banning who passed away last year, Sosan displayed an impeccable artistry with the white and black keys of the piano. Playing pieces from Schumann, Chopin, Debussy, Rachmaninoff and other celebrated romantic composers, Sosan proved his keyboard prowess to his audience.
Opening with the exquisite melody line of Schumann’s ‘May, Charming May, Sosan set the mood for a night of provocative relish in romantic classics. Like an adventurous sailor, Sosan led his audience on a romantic voyage by playing pieces of Mendelssohn, Chopin’s formidable No. 1 G minor ballade, Poulene’s Novelette.
At the rendition of his own piece,’ Precious Jewel’ Sosan displayed a subtle approach that reflects the romantic influence in his personality. He closed the first section with a Concertino for trumpet and piano with Michael Oladugba as the trumpeter.
Sosan opened with a brooding Rachmaninoff Prelude in C sharp minor, which was followed by Evans’ ‘Peace Piece’, the most romantic ballad of the night. With his skillful fingers, Sosan lured his audience into a flirtatious tempo, adding embellishment to the notes, stretching the romantic ambience with his textures.
In a special dedication to Raymond banning, a song he claims was his late mentor’s favourite, ‘La cathedral egloutie’, Sosan once again drew inspiration from its inner being with the ascension of the notes into a melodious harmony.
Adding flavor to the recital was the performance of the MTN Project Fame’s vocal coach, Dupe Ige Kachi, popularly known as Ige. She gave a very powerful rendition of the popular Benjamin Britten’s ‘Johnny’ with choreography by Zoe Chinaka who played the bride and Obinna Ifediora who played Johnny.
The choreography provoked laughter from the audience who were amused by the way Johnny kept leaving his lovely bride heartbroken despite her ambitious ways of getting him to propose to her. He was always lovely in the beginning of their dating but suddenly became overwhelmed by an inexplicable aura; he jilts his lover over and over again.
After the audience shed tears for heartbroken Chinaka, she came back on stage to sing the award winning “I will always love you” by the late Whitney Houston with Perpetual Atife on the saxophone, Nelson Taiwo on the bass guitar and Sunday Oruoghor on the drums.
With a soulful voice, Johnny couldn’t help but did what she had always wanted him to do: he came back on stage going down on one knee, and finally, he proposed to her. This definitely brought the love drama to a satisfactory end as the audience applauded the characters.
Perhaps the duet with the German based pianist Dapo Dina was the peak of the concert. It brought the house down with an outstanding performance by the two pianists. Performing the classical theme from love story composed by Francis Lai, the pianists stamped their foot on this brilliant music.
At a point, they were both lost in a trance of the music that they conjured impeccable melody and harmony that got the audience screaming for an encore. It was so brilliantly performed that one could see the satisfactory grins from the audience as they tapped their foot and swayed their heads sideways to the rythm of the melody. It was the most successful of performances of the night.
Tunde Sosan is the acting director of the Muson School of Music and also the Resident pianist. He is the great grandson of the music legend Dr. T.K.E. Philips.