Simon Jenner has been in touch from Brighton in East Sussex about two outstanding performances that bookended an evening of concert-level musicianship:
Gideon Klein (1919-45) was murdered in Auschwitz nine days after completing his String Trio, an astonishingly concentrated post-Bartok world refracted through Janacek: vivacious and devastated, variations on a Moravian folksong at its core. Andrew Biggs, Beatrice Sales and Nick Cooper’s recording – when uploaded on the website – will mark a reference-point for the future.
Composer Kevin Allen – famed for his Brahms and modernism – enjoyed the Bluthner grand’s plummy sonority, accompanying two Brahms and two Bellini melodies. Baritone Andrew Robinson rioted to a twelve-year-old prodigy’s patter-song. In the Brahms ‘Wie Melodien’, its great tune’s used for his Second Violin Sonata. The song’s so abstract it deserved another shot! Then the dramatic ‘Mainacht’. Robinson projected complexity as well as great tone.
Joe Ward’s Chopin Nocturne Op 48/1 was taken at a pace to display its tenebrous night, stoicism anguished and slowly fractured. The Waltz Op18 came as a sorbet after.
Franck’s Violin Sonata saw Biggs and Allen unite for one of the most urgent performances I’ve heard of any violin sonata. The ride was terrifying, edge-of-seat late-romantic chromaticism exploding in chords under fast-running violin passages, contrasting with aching melancholy, drawn out to a shuddering regret somewhere beyond words. One of the most rewarding concerts, even for this club.