Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Gig-a-Blog™ (Rupert Luck & Daniel Swain, St Anne & St Agnes)

Monday, 19 November 2007

Rupert Luck, violin, and Daniel Swain, piano; Parry: Sonata in D minor for Violin and Pianoforte. Adagio-Allegro; Andante; Rondo: Allegro con fuoco. Walton: Sonata for Violin and Piano. Allegro; Variazioni [in nine bits all of which I can't possibly key in or we'd be here till Wednesday: Ed.]

I've been off sick for nearly all of last week and even before that I'd recently been to fewer concerts at St Anne's than I'd like. So it is frankly blissful to be back here; even more so because it is another concert of Parry-Plus from the dream team of Luck and Swain. The only thing to slightly temper my delight is the awareness that this is the last concert in this very fine series, as he wrote no more sonatas: chiz.


  1. Beautiful, flowing, impassioned. I simply love these people's playing.
  2. Simple gorgeous song-like melody giving way to exciting piano-in-flames stuff before the sprinklers cut in and cool it all down for a calm, meditative ending.
  3. Wow! Can a rondo be majestic? This was. It's a fantastic big meaty tune given full measure on its every appearance, with all sorts of wonderful stuff going on in the, er, between-bits as we advanced musical scholars like to call them. But perhaps the most brilliant, symphonic moment was just near the end where the piano borrows the big rondo tune, knocks seven kinds of h*ll out of it, and in so doing is accompanied by the violin playing a frenzy of, er, nanoquavers as if there's something very alarming going to happen really quite soon. It's incredible. And Luck and Swain just zoom effortlessly through with their usual warmth and precision.

Fabulous. I do hereby declare that, following this sonata series I will never underrate Parry again. Oh and I really, really want my CD now please!


Sad story regarding its composition for Menuhin. I wasn't sure exactly this tale was to be taken: depending on how you read it Menuhin was either a staunch friend and support to Walton in time of trouble, or a bit exploitative. Walton was in desperate straits with a very sick friend and Menuhin's commission paid for medical care and added an incredible piece to the repertoire. On the other hand, surely, Menuhin could have just given him a big bag of money and said "let's sort it all out later"? Or maybe Menuhin knew that Walton needed the act of wrlting, not just the money? If I'm missing the point here please do write and tell me.

  1. Hesitant, unsettled and I even thought I detected a slight moment of Waltonesque loucheness - almost too knowing at times as he can be. It does seem to get very anguished - but then is it tempting to read too much into this piece once you know the story?
  2. I then got pretty disorientated among the thickets and undergrowth of the many variations. I hate it when this happens as it makes me feel thick and inattentive. Both perfectly true of course but that's not the point. I found myself again wishing for the score: but would that look awful, like a nerdy music student type? Hmm.


Later on I seem to have defogged myself sufficiently to say:

  • Wonderfully spooky disconnected bit with violin pizzicato accompaniment to somewhat fragmented piano tune - unsettling - stays thus till the violin retrieves the melody and imposes a greater shape and continuity. (But I prefer the mad disjointed tick-tock version)
  • Absolutely beautiful broad muted melody.
  • Sizzling finale.

And that's your lot. It was an amazing work and it received a superb, committed performance. I didn't exactly go out whistling it but it was pretty exciting. Another case where I think I'll be needing a recording, to build on this brief acquaintance.

This has been a really good concert series. I'm sad that there's no more Parry but I do hope we'll have more of these great players.

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