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A truly magnificent recital

The Sidmouth Herald, Stephen Huyshe Shires

Musicians gave ‘a truly magnificent recital’

‘A refreshingly different’ programme was billed for the opening concert in the new Sidmouth Music series at the Parish Church.

In the event, the audience which had braved the inclement weather on Saturday, October 12, was treated to a truly magnificent recital from Daniel Rowland (violin) and Maja Bogdanovic (cello).

A programme including four British premieres might have been expected to be dominated by obscure or difficult modern music. The reality was quite the opposite and

the programme enthralled and entertained from beginning to end.

Daniel described the opening piece, a juvenile work by Sibelius, as ‘short and cute’ but Raindrops, pizzicato throughout, did exactly as its title suggested. A set of eight pieces by relatively unfamiliar Russian composer Reinhold Gliére was attractively gentle, charming and melodic. Its highlights included’a complex Impromptu where the two instruments wove their magic following quite different paths, and a finale which positively fizzed with excitement. Three pieces by contemporary composer Jörg Widmann provided fascinating ‘hints’ at past composers and a sublime glissando which travelled seamlessly from cello to violin in its ascent. Another contemporary piece closed the first half; Latvian Peteris Vasks’ Castillo Interior was a magical meditative piece inspired by Theresa of Avila.

After the interval came a new and intriguing transcription of Debussy’s prelude La Serenade Interrompue, written for the performers by Craig White. Then, dedicated to Debussy, Ravel’s sonata for violin and cello ironically presented the impenetrable piece in the set, but its tensions and complexities were animated and dramatic in Daniel and Maja’s hands. Sollima’s Heimat Terra had never previously been played, but was dug out of the composer’s own archives especially for this duo, and swirled and strode until it resolved into an energetic round.

The premiere of Argentinian Marcelo Nisinman’s The Nightmares of Death had a predictably ethereal eerie mood driven by tango-like rhythms which unfolded into recognisable quotations’ of Chopin’s Funéral March, baroque phrases and even Phantom of the Opera.

The programme closed on Astor Piazzolla during his time in Europe which gave his two tangos a distinctive French flavour to send the audience happily home.

Image of Daniel Rowland and Maja_Bogdanovic by Sarah Wijzenbeek

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