William Hawkey’s “Thank-You” twilight recital at Narooma

As a “Thank-You” to the community which had supported him faithfully all the time he had been in the area and to celebrate his 85th year, William Hawkey gave a Twilight Recital to a packed audience on Cecilia’s Day, November 22, at St Paul’s Anglican Church, Narooma.

There was a slight delay at the beginning of the concert and Bill’s wife, Elizabeth Oliver-Hawkey spoke on how Bill always believes that the three “E’s” of music are to: educate, entertain and enjoy.  She added that despite her role as voluntary ‘page-turner’ their life together had been one of constant enjoyment!

Bill was in fine form and began by playing Sonata 3 by Joseph Haydn ((1732-1809):  Allegro, Adagio and Presto.  This piece is the third of the Esterhazy Sonatas depicting a “Happy Haydn” but demanding fluent finger-work.  It is simple in construction but beautiful in its simplicity. The Prelude and Fugue in B flat Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) were just two of the forty-eight Preludes and Fugues Bill could have played.  Composed in two sets of twenty-four, each set containing Preludes and Fugues in all major and minor keys, Bach’s object being to demonstrate the advantage of the new equal “temperament”

The two pieces that followed were by C. Hubert H. Parry (1848-1914) Quasi Sarabande and Dolly.  Parry too was a Professor of Music but at Oxford University between 1900-8 and is probably best known through his composition of Blake’s poem “Jerusalem”. 

In his short life, Franz Schubert (1797-1828) composed eleven Impromptus and phenomenally over 600 songs. Bill played Impromptu, Opus 90 in G Major. There followed two intermezzos by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) Opus 117 in E flat Major and 118 in A Major, demonstrating the changing moods and melodic lines so reminiscent of the composer’s large song output.  Strangely, Brahms never wrote any operas but was a master of every other form of composition

Two Bach transcriptions for piano:  Siciliano for 2 flutes and a piece from the Organ Choral Prelude.  Possibly the best known of Bach’s work has been a transcription by Myra Hess for her arrangement of “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” (Cantata No 147).

A critic once wrote “Mozart is music” and certainly the sonata that followed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-91) in B flat Major Adagio and Allegretto underlined both the brilliance and gaiety of his music. 

To end his programme, Bill played the very familiar Valse in C sharp Minor by Fryderyk Chopin (1810-1849) much to his audience’s appreciation. Bill considered it had an interesting and economical construction as the first major section is played twice, the second section three times and the third, but emotionally contrasting section, only once.

Such was the audience’s enthusiasm for Bill’s performance that he was brought back for an encore.  At his son Dave’s suggestion, who came, incidentally, especially from New Zealand to hear his father play, Bill played Ludwig Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata to everyone’s delight.  At 7 pm it was an ecstatically happy audience that departed home in time for dinner!