Concert review

Lisa Ueda (violin) with Daniele Rinaldo (piano)

21st February 2022

The Music Club’s first concert of 2022 was given by two highly talented young artists , Lisa Ueda (violin) and Daniele Rinaldo (piano). Their imaginative programme, from Beethoven to Stravinsky, proved a tour de force of sensitive and exuberant music making relished by an appreciative audience.

Beethoven’s early Variations on Se vuol ballare from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro might seem an innocuous warm-up piece but Daniele Rinaldo’s performance evoked the young Beethoven  improvising in humorous and tempestuous style. Lisa Ueda added tonal colour and rhythmic brio – in fact a spirited start to their musical journey. Resurrecting Reynaldo Hahn’s Violin Sonata of 1926 from some obscurity was most welcome. Its air of nostalgia in the outer movements was caught by both players with much tender loving care. The fast motoric middle movement appears to be inspired by a 12hp, 8 cylinder car engine running at 5000 revs. The virtuosic dispatch of this animated showpiece sparkled throughout with effortless panache.

Stravinsky’s Divertimento, arranged from music for the ballet The Fairy’s Kiss, drew more immaculate interplay between the performers. By weaving snatches of Tchaikovsky into his intriguing web Stravinsky created music of fascinating variety. The opening Sinfonia brought lyrical playing from both performers; Danses Suisses entertained with quirky rhythms; the Scherzo’s filigree textures were poised and the final Pas de Deux brought virtuoso display once again.

Ralph Vaughan Williams was born 150 years ago so to celebrate this anniversary we were treated to a couple of his Six Studies in English Folk Song. Van Diemen’s Land and She Borrowed Some of Her Mother’s Gold were presented in VW’s straightforward settings played with appropriate simplicity. On the other hand César Franck’s Violin Sonata is a Romantic staple of the violin and piano repertoire and anything but straightforward.

Performed with a strong sense of forward movement this was a performance that ranged from dreamy lyricism to high drama. Lisa Ueda set the scene with captivating tone and expressive nuances as the opening melody unfolded. Daniele Rinaldo’s reflective responses were finely judged before he launched the second movement’s turbulent outburst. Now both players gave their all to the frenetic, syncopated theme that dominates the movement – an evenly balanced and exhilarating display of controlled energy.

The third movement starts in improvisatory mode from which emerge previously heard themes. This feeling of searching and finding the familiar was managed with great conviction. The joyous canon of the finale marks a high point of the Sonata; now both players could enjoy the interplay of the canon and the ingenious return of earlier musical ideas. They both displayed the highest technical and musical abilities – an outstanding performance.

Bartok’s wistful Andante made a gentle encore.

John Upson

Updated on 27th June 2022
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