Another year at Breinton has flown by; we concluded our 2012/2013 season at Breinton with a spectacular concert on Sunday 16 June with Jack Liebeck and Katya Apekisheva.
Brahms Sonata No. 1 drew us straight away into the dreamy, romantic world of the violin and piano. In my opinion, this Sonata grows on you – the more you listen to it, the more addicted you get to its beauty. Unlike the Franck Sonata which we heard in the second half, it has no distinctive and striking features as such, but it offers such breathtaking and lyrical melodies. We heard the most beautiful phrasing - I got carried away particularly with the second movement Adagio. I found the violin so moving and emotional, and Katya's piano was like a constant flowing river which warmly and gently embraced the violin.
The atmosphere changed completely with the Stravinsky Divertimento. Jack said that this piece is not often performed and that it was a typical Stravinsky composition which made everything complicated. It was vibrant and diverse; though certainly complicated and full of unpredictable moves, these musicians performed it with absolutely no hint of difficulty. The Adagio of the 4th section Pas de deux gave us the most lyrical moments.
By the way, I loved sitting behind Katya. I observed with pleasure how her fingers worked wonders on the keyboard, effortlessly making colourful sounds. I noticed my friend and keen amateur pianist Steve was doing the same! Another friend, Angela, a keen amateur violinist, was enthusiastically observing Jack's playing whilst carefully studying his score which obviously was placed in a way that she could see it.
The long awaited Franck's Sonata was played after the interval. This was the first time we have heard this masterpiece at Breinton; I always think this Sonata offers every possible emotion and state of mind of a human. The first movement starts calm, with a gentle and pleasant rocking motion. Then clouds start to develop into the forceful and tense 2nd movement, with thunderous piano. Passionate and dramatic, you experience an emotional roller coaster in this movement, which suddenly comes to a halt in the major key. The 3rd movement calms down in tempo, its indescribably mellow violin melody gives a mixed feeling of bitter sweetness, sadness and sourness. The lively finale, which goes through emotional changes in itself, features a soaring soul. Over all, it is all about love, all about life. That is the reason why this Sonata is adored by many. So the performance given by Jack and Katya? I think what I've just described above summarizes what we heard. What a beautiful drama. It was a thoughtful and convincing performance, full of contrasts and maturity. The duo's partnership was unquestionable.
Kreisler's playful Tambourin Chinois brought a fresh breeze into the room. I never get bored with this fun piece. Jack didn't forget to impress us with a bouncing bow and fast finger movements.
Encore piece was the extremely romantic SchÃ¶n Rosmarin. This definitely guaranteed everybody a sweet dream.