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A recital by cellist Tim Hugh
impresses MIKE WHEELER


Where there's a recital by a solo cellist, one or other of the Bach suites won't be far away, and so it was on this occasion (Guildhall, Derby, UK, 24 September 2007). Tim Hugh began the evening with Bach's Suite No 3, and immediately his rich mellow tone held the attention. It was a searching performance, deeply thoughtful in the Sarabande, full of dancing lightness in the two Bourrées.

He made a profound impression with John Tavener's Threnos, mesmerising in his exploration of the music's darkest corners. The delightful little Caprice no 7 by the 19th-century cellist Alfredo Piatti was the perfect contrast, which Tim Hugh threw off as though it was the easiest thing in the world, which of course it wasn't.

Alone by the contemporary Italian cellist and composer Giovanni Sollima turned out to be a cunning piece of programming since its slow sections had points of contact with the Tavener, while the quicker ones looked forward to the folk-inspired dynamism of the Sonata by Kodály in the second half. The Kodály itself received a tremendously powerful reading, with a magical stillness in the slow central movement and an exciting sense of risk-taking in the fast outer ones.

Tim Hugh
Tim Hugh

The Prelude from Bach's Suite No 1 was the perfectly judged encore, taking us full circle back to where we came in. Throughout the evening, Tim Hugh's unassuming stage presence (including a ready supply of funny stories) belied playing that carried considerable authority and expressive power.

Copyright © 2 October 2007 Mike Wheeler, Derby UK



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