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Tonal Contrast

A recital by Victoria Simonsen and Simon Lane,
appreciated by MIKE WHEELER


Derby Chamber Music's new season was launched by a recital from award-winning cellist Victoria Simonsen (Multi-Faith Centre, Derby University, Derby, UK, 26 September 2008). She was partnered by Simon Lane, replacing the advertised pianist, who was indisposed.

In J S Bach's 3rd Cello Suite, Simonsen made the music really dance, with a lively sense of rhythm balanced by beautifully clear phrasing. The pair of Bourrées was crisp, with finely judged tonal contrast between the two, and the final Gigue positively skipped along.

Simon Lane played four pieces from Schumann's Kinderszenen 'Of Foreign Lands ...' ('Von Fremdern Ländern ...') was kept nicely on the move; 'Perfect Happiness' ('Glückes Genug') bubbled; there was a bold, striding energy to 'Great Event' ('Wichtige Begebenheit'); 'Dreaming' ('Traümerei') was not sentimentalised and was all the better for it. He found a finely-shaded range of colours in Nos 4 and 6 of Brahms' Fantasies, Op 116.

After the interval the two players joined forces for Schumann's Fantasiestücke, Op 73. The middle section of No 2 was playful, and they caught the mercurial changes of mood in No 3.

Well-integrated mood swings were also a feature of their playing in the first movement of Shostakovich's Cello Sonata. There was drive and energy in the second movement (and Simonsen's arpeggio harmonics were faultless). There was a sense of unhurried unfolding to the Largo, and the sharp contrasts that mark the finale were pointed up without being melodramatically exaggerated.

The second of Schumann's Funf Stücke in Volkston (Five Pieces in Folk Style), Op 102, was the aptly-chosen wind-down at the end of the evening.

Copyright © 11 October 2008 Mike Wheeler, Derby UK


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