Review of the ‘Sparkling Valentine’s Day Concert’ at Ely Cathedral on Saturday 14th February 2015

Warren Mailley-Smith (2)(pictured: Warren Mailley-Smith).

What a sparkling concert it was! Our home-grown pianist, Warren Mailley-Smith born in Earith, brought together a feast of romantic music for this special romantic evening. Together with The Sattler Quartet and Hannah Turnbull on double bass, as well as Susan Parkes, soprano, these fine musicians presented a very attractive programme of music.
With unerring technique, Warren made the grand piano positively sing and in the candlelight in the octagon of the Cathedral, we were transfixed. All the favourites were there and I confess that in my late teens studying piano as a major at Melbourne University, the pieces he chose were particular favourites of my repertoire and revisiting them certainly helped refresh fond romantic memories. It was a delight to hear Rachmaninov’s Prelude Op 3 no.2 in C sharp minor, Chopin’s Black Key study and his Revolutionary study played with such ease and understanding. The mood was lifted with Chopin’s ‘Military’ polonaise and the chamber version of Beethoven’s ‘Emperor Concerto’ gave us considerable more moments of romance. The strings accompanied admirably.
After our free glass of bubbly at interval, we were in the mood for more and the string players certainly added to the atmosphere with Bach’s ‘Air on a G string’, one of Beethoven’s ‘Romances’ and Brahms’s ‘Hungarian Dance .
Susan Parkes, accompanied by piano and strings, enhanced the emotional fervour of events with her delightful singing of Mozart’s ‘Cerrubino’s Aria’ from the ‘Marriage of Figaro, Schubert’s ‘Ave Maria and ‘Serenade’ and Gounod’s ‘Je veux vivre’.
The evening came to a glorious close with the charming ‘Trout Quintet’ by Schubert featuring piano and strings and the finale by these instrumentalists captured the powerful rhythmic seduction of Piazzolla’s ‘Tango’ perfectly. Wow what an evening!

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