Madeleine Mitchell (violin) and Nigel Clayton (piano) returned to Kemnay Church Centre last Saturday with a performance that was part of Sound Festival 2012.
The programme featured two pieces from living composers, local composer John Hearne, who was in the audience, and David Matthews.
The object of the Sound Festival is to promote new music and Madeleine elaborated on the programme as she introduced each piece of music. The first was the rarely heard Sonata in A minor by Beethoven. David Matthews’ ‘Romanza’ was composed for Madeleine this year in two versions- one with strings and one with piano alone. The opening section featured two contrasting ideas with a dramatic theme followed by a gentler reflective one. A hectic waltz formed a middle section and this was combined with the opening to bring it to a conclusion.
John Hearne’s ‘Endurspegla’ (Reflection) was composed for Icelandic friends to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. It was a miniature tone poem that evoked Iceland’s scenery with its icy piano triplets set against a lyrical theme of calmer water that can “look back”.
As well as being pioneers in contemporary music, Madeleine and Nigel are equally good at finding pieces that are unusual perhaps, but worth performing. Amongst these was an early piece by Delius, ‘Légende’ of 1895, a sweetly lyrical piece, skilfully harmonised in late romantic style. Respighi’s Sonata in B Minor came as a surprise. This rarely performed piece was intense, virtuosic and experimental.
Finishing with a tribute to Bach, a dramatic theme in dotted rhythm in thundering octaves was announced on the piano that formed a ground bass for a set of variations. This relentlessly stern Passacaglia brought the piece to a conclusion, but as an encore and a change of mood the first movement of Debussy’s Sonata, also composed in 1917, concluded the performance.