Concert 4. Wednesday 5 January 2011 8pm Print

LAWRENCE POWER viola

& SIMON CRAWFORD-PHILLIPS piano

 

PROGRAMME

 

Schumann

Marchenbilder Op.113

Rebecca Clarke

Viola Sonata (1921)

Brahms

Viola Sonata in F minor Op.120/1

Prokofiev

5 Pieces from Romeo & Juliet arr.Borisovsky

 

 

Lawrence POWER is now one of the world’s foremost viola soloists as well as a sought after chamber musician.  Couple the viola player of the Leopold String Trio and the pianist of the Kungsbacka trio and you have a recipe for an outstanding concert.  These distinguished players have made several recordings together including a highly acclaimed disc of York Bowen’s viola music. As well as two of the classics of the viola and piano repertoire, they will also play Rebecca Clarke’s impressive and passionate sonata. They end with an arrangement of Prokofiev’s immortal ballet music.

 

Power’s playing . . . compels attention with its unfailing sense of line, rhythmic precision and varied range of colour.” THE GUARDIAN

 

“Simon Crawford-Philips’ versatility, stamina and sustenance of focus . . . explained why he is in such demand . . .” WORTHING HERALD

     

 

Review of Concert

 

A marvellous start to the musical New Year

 

It was not until the twentieth century that the viola was accorded proper soloist status and violists have often been typified by the cruel (and admittedly funny) jokes that many musicians make about them. The emergence of players such as Lawrence Power, amongst distinguished others, has put paid to any idea of the instrument being a second class citizen. Simon Crawford-Phillips is well known to Ilkley audiences as pianist in the Kungsbacka Trio which has been to the King’s Hall twice and has had rave reviews from me on both occasions. So this was a keenly anticipated concert and one that more than lived up to my high expectations.  

 

They began with Schumann’s Märchenbilder about which Lawrence Power spoke affectionately before the performance. His beautiful viola tone coloured the first movement with the piano very expressive and the instrument’s lid fully open. This only became problematic in the second piece where the easily obscured viola part is often doubled by the piano, a miscalculation by its composer. The gem is the last of the four pieces, the essence of Schumann, serenely done.  

 

We were then introduced to the remarkable Rebecca Clarke Sonata. Although strongly influenced by the music of French composers writing at the time of its composition (1919) it is a strong and individual work that needs to be heard more often. The writing for both instruments is idiomatic and the two parts maintain their independence throughout so that balance seemed never a problem. The opening gave Lawrence Power the chance to display the full-on richness that he can deploy. The light, almost sotto voce scherzo was an effective contrast with lovely use of muted tone. The finale is a complex fantasia-like structure whose often expansive gestures were skilfully balanced by Simon Crawford-Phillips. If these had echoes of César Franck at his most passionate, the piano never became overbearing.

 

The viola version of the first Brahms Clarinet Sonata was made by the composer and I have to agree with the programme note-writer that ‘it shows perhaps a less sensitive attitude towards instrumental colour’.  Nevertheless it received a very convincing performance, especially in the two more lightly toned central movements. I should admit to a degree of antipathy to the music of Brahms and for me the sun then came out again in Borisovsky’s skilful arrangement of pieces from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet ballet. The two players gave this music their all and never once did I miss the huge orchestra that originally clothed it. Any Sunderland AFC supporter would have been convinced by their playing of the swaggering Montague and Capulet dance. Amidst the final rapturous applause someone said ‘after that, no more viola jokes’ which says it all! 

    

G.K.

 

CLUB NOTES for 5 January 2011

 

SALLY PRICE HARP ENSEMBLE

Thanks to heroic travel efforts by the artists the concert went ahead. We were sorry that so many of our members were prevented by the deep snow from hearing some delightful Harp Chamber Music. We are grateful to the Hall Staff who made the King's Hall and Winter Garden feel so warm and welcoming.

 

WEATHER & OUR WEBSITE       www.concertclub.ilkley.org

You will be interested to know that the club has only once had to cancel a concert. In January 1987 it happened when the Alberni Quartet were stranded in Manchester by a huge and impassable Pennine snowfall.

 

Now, thanks to our website, we can keep you informed when conditions are bad, as they were for the last concert. If you did look at the website beforehand - and some did - you would have seen three messages. Tuesday: "The artists expect to get to Ilkley". Wednesday morning: "They are on their way". Wednesday afternoon "They are at the King's Hall". In future we will post information on the website on the rare occasions that we need to provide you with timely information.

 

But. .. we estimate that more than 40% of our members do not have web access. So ... those of you who do can help to pass on information to those who don't. If you do have access, and your neighbours at the concerts don't, why not let them have your phone number so that they can check the state-of-play? We don't want people arriving at the hall to find that the concert is cancelled; but we would hate them to miss concerts unnecessarily. This seems the most effective we have of

avoiding that.

 

SPONSORSHIP (repeated, as so many missed the previous Club notes)

For many years one concert each Season was sponsored by the Sanderson Weatherall Company in Leeds. This Season they felt unable to continue their sponsorship, but we most are grateful for their strong support in the past.

 

Aware of this change, several members had the idea that they might like to be involved with the part sponsorship of a concert, as has one of our current advertisers. The idea is still in its infancy: it could involve between 10 - 20 members and/or other contributors. It would likely involve making a donation for a specific concert and recognition in that concert programme (unless anonymity is preferred).

 

If any other members would like to explore this idea, please contact our Sponsorship Organiser, Richard Lorimer on 01943 603561 or by email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it