Picking a lunchtime recital programme is not unlike planning a midday meal. Shorter and immediately appealing items are generally better tolerated than something heavy and ponderous, and which then might need the rest of the afternoon to digest.
The opening gambit – a spritely sonata by Jean-Marie Leclair – provided an ideal starter, varied and dance-like at times, and the perfect vehicle to showcase Joel’s highly-accomplished playing and technique, alongside Peter’s sympathetic accompaniment skills. Moreover it contrasted nicely with the expressive melancholy of Sibelius’s darker-hued Nocturne from Belshazzar’s Feast which followed.
Peter Clarke’s Sonata for Solo Violin is a substantial offering, and, while there were many moments of lightness and charm, this lengthy three-movement work did make some demands on the listener’s attention, at a time when simple entertainment really might have proved a better alternative to intellectual stimulus.
Fortunately, Ponce’s well-known melody Estrellita, and a rip-roaring performance of William Kroll’s highly-evocative Banjo and Fiddle, ensured that everyone still left with a spring in their step.
Hopefully, with increasing maturity, the finer points of stage presence will also be honed, as these surely go hand-in-hand with the musical performance itself. Furthermore the opportunity to establish a rapport with the audience from the outset is something, perhaps, that just a few spoken words here and there might have engendered, especially in such a friendly and non-threatening recital environment.
PHILIP R BUTTALL
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