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A Worthy Feast

Christopher White and Melanie Reinhard
at London's Foundling Museum,


The superb violin and piano duo, Christopher White and Melanie Reinhard, gave a stunning recital as part of the BPSE Lunchtime series at London's Foundling Museum on 19 March 2009. In the resonant acoustics of the elegant gallery, their programme began with an atmospherically flowing and energetic account of the Sonata in G minor Op 1 No 10 by Handel, an apt choice in the context of the exhibition on Handel the Philanthropist currently displayed in the Foundling Museum. To underline the connection was the fact that Christopher White's J B Guadagnini violin dates from 1749, the same year as Handel's very first Messiah performance in aid of the Foundling Hospital. Indeed one of the prized documents of the exhibition is the Minutes of the Committee Meeting in which Handel was formally thanked for offering this concert, which, as is well known, was the first of many to add substantial support to Thomas Coram's charitable endeavour.

There was great beauty of tone in the richly blended Andante and Adagio movements, the slow lyrical lines fully involving one in ornaments and articulation of phrasing that brought alive Handel's Baroque idiom. The fast movements were projected with a lively, invigorating impetus.

Christopher White and Melanie Reinhard
Christopher White and Melanie Reinhard

White's deeply thoughtful and communicative approach was also displayed in his spoken introduction to Beethoven's 'Spring' Sonata in which he emphasised the contrast of chamber music and larger symphonic concepts in Beethoven's oeuvre. The interpretation was a vivid illustration of that interpersonal musical rapport as it sparkled with genial exchanges and interactions, particularly the outer movements in which the finesse of ensemble was matched by an innately musical joie de vivre, the finale balancing élan and poise. The slow movement was a highpoint, its eloquent dialogues moving, intimate and almost tangible. The Scherzo spoke with clarity and wit, maintained at just the right tripping tempo, and avoiding any sense of rushing.

The recital rose to a climax in the duo's exciting performance of Maurice Ravel's dazzling Tzigane. Here Christopher White's panoply of string effects, such as tremolos, harmonics, left hand pizzicato, wonderfully supported by Melanie Reinhard's cimbalom-like arpeggio cadenzas, created a colourful canvas of waves of sounds expressively modulated through fluctuations of tempo and intensity. It was a worthy feast for the audience.

Copyright © 25 March 2009 Malcolm Miller, London UK


Christopher White and Melanie Reinhard perform again in London as the trio Opus 3 at 5pm on Sunday 3 May 2009 at St Georges-in-the-East Church (16 Cannon Street Road, Stepney, London E1 0BH, phone +44 (0)20 7481 1345) - the second concert in a series beginning on 29 March and followed by a third concert on 17 May.

Three more BPSE lunchtime concerts at The Foundling Museum are scheduled, all starting at 1pm. The dates are 21 May (Shelley Levy, clarinet, Klio Blonz, flute and Malcolm Miller, piano), 18 June (Ian Judson, flute, Francesca Karpos, bassoon, Karen Cohen, violin and Malcolm Miller, piano) and 16 July 2009 (winners of the 2009 Junior BPSE Competition).


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