The sound and the furey
On hearing, as an 11 year old, Beethoven's Sonata No.8 for the first time, Liam Furey's life changed forever.
His mother, a guitarist, had taught him piano since he was nine but Beethoven's sonata was the first time Furey encountered classical music.
“I remember falling in love with Beethoven,” he says.
“There was something so engaging and inspiring about it to me. Rather than a four-minute pop song, this was an 18-minute sonata with three movements that built up in intensity towards a resolution.
“I told my parents I wanted to learn the piece and they bought me the score. Since then it's been a long slippery slope that has got me neck deep in classical music.”
He has studied piano and composition basics under Gillian Bibby, won several competitions and is now studying classical piano and composition at the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington. On Sunday, September 27, he performs at arts patron Jack Richards' Wainui home, Tiromoana.
Furey's programme includes works by Chopin, Schoenberg, Schubert, Schumann and his own composition, As the Leaves Fall, from his Preludes for Piano.
“From when I was quite young and getting into classical I'd make up and write down my own pieces. Gillian guided me in some and he recommended I study composition.”
Furey's main musical passion now is contemporary and New Zealand musical concepts
“Making musical language freer and more expressive intrigues me,” he says.
“Since my discovery of contemporary music, I love to curate programmes that mix the two together.”
Schumann's 1837 work, Fantasiestucke, Op.12, that Furey has included in his Gisborne concert programme, is particularly challenging work, he says.
Fantasiestucke is a set of eight pieces composed with the characters Florestan and Eusebius, in mind. The two parlay with one another throughout the collection.
Florestan is a passionate and emotional character, says Furey.
“Movements associated with him are loud and dramatic. Eusebius represents Schumann's dreamier side. The movements are more introspective, even fragile.”
• Pianist Liam Furey performs at Tiromoana, 41 Winifred Street, on Sunday, September 27, at 2.30pm. $20.