Posts Tagged ‘Ravel’

Review of Antony Peeble’s piano recital in the Hayward Theatre on Thursday 1st December 2016.

December 3, 2016

review-antony-peebles-1Ex-Trinity College Cambridge student and experienced performer and teacher, Antony Peebles, gave a splendid piano recital as part of the King’s School Ely Concert Series in the Hayward Theatre on Thursday.

He played two sonatas by Beethoven, two works by Scriabin and Ravel’s ‘Gaspard de la nuit’. The latter piece was an amazing culmination of the programme and this fine pianist proved himself a master of producing really soft sounds that maintained their musical quality no matter how wide-ranging the textures from delicate trills and rapid runs to masses of chords. Fortunately the Steinway piano provided could respond to his skill. No matter how varied the pictorial episodes were in this composition, Antony captured their essence exactly. From the fluidity of the first movement and the haunting B flat in the second movement to the macabre antics of ‘Scarbo’ in the third, this excellent artist gave credence to every articulation. Even if it was ‘a nightmare to play’ it was no problem for this performer!

Needless to say, Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Appassionata’ sonatas were expressed magnificently, revelling in Beethoven’s contrasts: one minute smooth, calm and unhurried, the next suddenly excitable and agitated at great volume and strength yet all perfectly under this musician’s control. His use of the split second pause before important musical episodes kept us entranced.

Many pianists prefer the right hand to the left and would rather avoid the flat keys. Not this pianist. His performance of Scriabin’s Nocturne in D flat for the left hand flourished and the music flowed as if played by two hands. His expert touch made the sound appear to have several dimensions as the music surged across the piano.

Not satisfied with the challenges of this nocturne, Antony then played Scriabin’s Etude in D sharp minor, which was indeed a demanding study but magnificently mastered by this amazing pianist.

What an uplifting and memorable concert this was! It was no wonder there was a demand for ‘encore’!

The next concert in this series will be on Thursday 19th January 7.30 in the Recital Hall featuring Gemma Rosefield (cello) and Tim Horton (piano).

contact: sophiecollier@kingsely.org

 

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Review of A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra in Ely Cathedral on Saturday March 3rd 2012

March 5, 2012

A new spark of excitement was created by Steve Bingham when he conducted Ely Sinfonia for their concert A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra in Ely Cathedral last Saturday. Under his baton, not only did the orchestra perform to considerably high standards, but an extra sense of liveliness, camaraderie and joy permeated their performances.

The concert opened with the première performance of Somniare by Alex Cook, winner of the Cambridge Youth Composer of the Year 2011 prize. With small groups of instruments scattered throughout the Cathedral, this budding new composer was able to create an intriguing atmosphere as strands of sounds were suspended in the vaults of the Cathedral and  came together in long enduring sound combinations give a sense of belonging and a feeling that we were immersed in an expansive film score.

Ravel’s Bolero is a very popular addition to the programme. Although the composer is said to have joked about the piece having no music, this orchestra proved otherwise. As the different instruments came in above the constantly repeated rhythm, in the snare drum, it soon became clear that this was no ordinary performance. None of Ravel’s intentions were lost while the soloists added their individual expressions that brought out the uniqueness of their instruments’ sounds while at the same time giving the composition delightful and meaningful colour and development.

I have heard Benjamin Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra a hundred times and more. (I taught music in schools for years.) Consequently, it was with a little trepidation that I waited to listen to this piece yet again. However, I need not have feared. This performance was definite proof that a live performance beats any recording. Steve exuded enthusiasm as he introduced the piece and added his own limericks to introduce the children to the instruments as they played in turn. It was quite moving to see the youngsters sitting on cushions in the octagon in front of the orchestra remaining quiet and interested throughout the evening’s performance. The extra vitality and colour that this orchestra added to this very well known composition made it a real joy to hear again.

After interval we were taken into a deeper realm with Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony. The four movements of the piece reflected a wide range of emotions and expressions. The skill of the composer and the accomplishment of the performers created a sense of poignant stillness that developed into angry outbursts or deep Russian moodiness. Strong vehement themes exuded potency, and in the second movement particularly, different instruments brought extra character and tones to the proceedings. In the third movement Shostakovich’s skill in using intervals and melodic shape to mix the emotions creating an underlying sense of sadness that permeated the work, while also adding tinges of beauty, fondness and hope. There were many glorious moments when a distinctive Russian voice emerged, especially in the deeper instruments. The final movement contained moments of anger and agitation that were momentarily suspended in delightful episodes of respite only to break out again into expressions of frustration and anxiety, ending with a final unfettered declamation by the drum. This was one of the most exhilarating and inspired performances by Sinfonia I have heard.

Rosemary Westwell

 

Future events:

Saturday May 26th Linton Village College 7.30 as part of the Linton Music Festival playing Bruch’s violin concerto, Rossini’s Thieving Magpie Overture, Elgar’s Serenade for Strings and Mozart’s Symphony no 40.

Saturday September 29th in Ely Cathedral at 7.30 p.m. Fauré’s Requiem and two works by Samuel Barber: his Adagio for Strings and Knoxville – Summer of 1915 for soprano and small orchestra.

Rosemary Westwell

Review: Robbie Stern (violin) and Philippa Naylor (piano) at the Hayward Theatre in Ely On Friday 11th November 2011 for The King’s School Ely’s nineteenth season

November 16, 2011

Review: Robbie Stern (violin) and Philippa Naylor (piano) at the Hayward Theatre in Ely On Friday 11th November 2011 for The King’s School Ely’s nineteenth season

Robbie Stern (violin) and Philippa Naylor (piano) captured the hearts and minds of the audience in the Hayward Theatre, Ely on Friday night. The regular supporters of the King’s School Ely Concert Society series have come expect an event of the highest quality and they were not disappointed.

Robbie and Philippa, two students in their final year at Cambridge University, knew their stuff. Robbie demonstrated an assured command of his instrument. No matter which techniques the pieces demanded, he executed them effectively every time. Philippa also displayed a tremendous technique and shaped her contributions expertly to match Robbie’s well.

The programme consisted of pieces that were Robbie’s favourites and the decision to include such demanding compositions for performers and listeners certainly paid off. The instrumentalists’ empathy with the composers’ intentions made their playing credible and captivating.

Such was the homely atmosphere that these concerts have come to engender, the audience was more than happy to wait a little before the concert began so that Robbie’s parents had a chance to get to the concert hall from Ely station.

Robbie chose to open the concert with a charming movement from J S Bach’s PartitA No.1 in B minor for solo violin: Allemande – double. It became immediately apparent that Robbie has a most endearing capacity for bringing out the musicality of a piece while at the same time maintaining a sense of tension and restraint that creates that special bond between composer, performer and audience.

Philippa then joined Robbie on stage and they performed Sonata for Violin and Piano in G Major by Maurice Ravel. Robbie introduced the item and mentioned how Ravel had said he believed the violin and the piano had little in common and could never enjoy complete equilibrium. This piece certainly displayed this attitude by the composer. However, just as I have difficulty in accepting Ravel’s apparent boast that he could describe anything in music – even a chair, it is difficult to accept that these two instruments were entirely incompatible. Whatever the intension of the composer, these skilled performers did have rapport, their music although seemingly ‘at odds’ at one level, was nevertheless cohesive with effective communication and understanding between the instruments. The opening Allegro contained moments of mutual understanding, effective dialogue and intriguing juxtapositions that nevertheless ‘matched’.

The second movement reflected the kind of blues music Ravel probably heard in the streets of Paris. …

The concert ended with another challenge for the performers: Serge Prokofiev’s Sonata for Violin and Piano no. 2 in D, Op. 94. This work offered Prokofiev’s attractive melodies and classical structures and these made the unusual intervals of his day all the more acceptable to the unaccustomed ear. The first movement, Moderato, had a most tuneful opening, and Robbie’s exquisite restraint was again particularly noticeable.  The second movement, the traditional Scherzo, was indeed playful and jolly at times, the third movement, Andante, created an overall sense of suspended quiet and calmness with occasional more thrilling developments. The fourth movement, Allegro con brio, opened with a flourish and the piece certainly added fiery liveliness to the proceedings.  In this movement the amazing technique of the performers was particularly apparent. The potency and strength of Rebecca was never in any doubt even though she performed as ‘accompanist’ throughout the evening. As expected, Robbie rose to the occasion and filled the hall with sounds of dramatic intensity, providing an admirable ending to this most enjoyable concert.

Forthcoming events:

Wednesday 16th to Friday 17th November King’s Company Play ‘Improbable Fiction’ by Alan Ayckbourn 7.30 in the Hayward Theatre admission free

Sunday 20th November ‘Christ the King’ Choral Concert King’s Chapel Choir, Prime Brass and Jonathan Lilley (organist) 8 p.m. Ely Cathedral

Thursday 24th November Lunchtime Live Concert 1.10 Ely Cathedral

Friday 2nd December, King’s Charity Concert 7.30 p.m. Hayward Theatre

Friday 20th January King’s Ely Concert Society, Richard Uttley (piano) 7.30 Recital Hall

Thursday 26th January lunchtime Live Concert 1.10 St. Mary’s Church Admission free

Contact: Lisa Bushell at King’s Ely Music School (01353 653931) email: boxoffice@kings-ely.cambs.sch.uk

http://www.localsecrets.com (for the entire review)

Rosemary Westwell