More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)
(work in progress)
Piano Trio in D Major, Op. 2, No. 8 (1728) ~ Jean-Marie Leclair (1697 – 1764)
4. Allegro assai
The initial theme of the Adagio, and its gestures, wholly attract our attention – to the extent that it almost sounds as if the movement (or, therefore, the work as a whole) has opened near the end (or, at least, in the middle of what might be expected of such a work). We soon notice that the violin and viola are echoic – the latter, certainly, repeats the former (though does not mimic it per se), if not vice versa, and the writing is in an especially expressive tone, which one could, of course, rely on cellist Caroline Dearnley to bring out beautifully from her wonted instrument.
In the Allegro, again an element of the catch or round, if not of antiphony. However, now with the piano* more obviously joining in, and with a 'frisky' overall ambience, which, as the psychology of music tells us (though perhaps not consciously), operates by way of preparation for what follows within the composition as a whole : the succeeding Sarabande - as so often with the Bach Suites for Solo Cello (or the keyboard or violin Partitas, whose dates of 1685 to 1750 virtually mirror those of Leclair) – is the heart of the piece.
Here, there is a melding of the string-sounds of all three instruments - maybe we forget to our cost that, though some might encourage us to think of the piano as percussive, there are strings (just not bowed (or - in this repertoire - plucked)). The balance that John Lenehan achieves with his fellow...
* * * * *
At @WestRoadCH, people were saying afterwards such enthusiastic things about the reduction, to smaller forces, of the Mahler settings :)— THE AGENT APSLEY #ScrapUniversalCredit #JC4PM2019 (@THEAGENTAPSLEY) January 25, 2020
In one person's case, who was going to urge the London gig on a friend, what had been kept or captured in the skill behind the concision ! https://t.co/SqvwfpXLhI
Bukoliki (1952, 1962 (arr. comp.)) ~ Witold Lutosławski (1913 - 1994)
1. Allegro vivace
2. Allegro sostenuto
3. Allegro molto
5. Allegro marciale
To begin, 'an intensity' of very vigorous writing for cello in the Allegro vivace, but which is, as the movement plays out, a contrast to the succeeding section's more meditative or musing nature – and which, as the set of pieces plays out, is part of a pattern of juxtaposition. And then, Lutoslawski has Clare Finnimore (viola) and Caroline Dearnley (cello) jump back, at least to Tempo I and to the initial variety of affect, but not to a note-for-note reprise, but another re-working of the material. Then, more or less betokening the close, a re-working of Tempo II follows – which is a sort of ABAB that we might associate with, or recognize from, Bartók ?
In the Allegro sostenuto, there is – more evidently (or as one adjusts to this set of pieces ?) – a juxtaposition, at the start, of a deft pizzicato cello and a languidly legato viola – another alternation of an ABAB kind ? – whereas, in the third piece, maybe Lutosławski has sufficiently stated his folk-music credentials to pass the work off as that, but then sneaks in some illicit jazz chord-progressions or intervals**, and, as if he is a covering-up naughty school-boy, behaves as if they were never there... ?
Of the set, the wildly atmospheric Andantino had open sounds and spaces, which spoke of yearning and tenderness, and which also provided yet another point of contact (as well as of contrast), this time with the rhythmicity of the final Allegro marciale : its emphasis is on metrical stress, as the material is first presented us, but then on employing it teasingly – leading us on, and holding us off from, our expectations.
We love this photo of Claire Finnimore and Caroline Dearnley rehearsing Lutosławski’s Bukoliki at @WestRoadCH on Tuesday (taken by our Principal Second Violin Miranda Dale). pic.twitter.com/OwEEpHukJP— Britten Sinfonia (@BrittenSinfonia) January 23, 2020
No surprise at all that these accomplished musicians***, so used to each other (and to us) from their time with Britten Sinfonia, and to each other’s playing, should play the Lutoslawski so compellingly, but - as is the norm rather than the exception with the Sinfonia programming - rather how this beacon of composition shone in its setting in this hall and in this selection of At Lunch works !
* Surely, in 1728, not written for even an early forte piano ?
** In Ida (2013), Pawel Pawlikowski seeks to use his authorial / directorial position to allude to the Polish underground jazz-scene, but only as part of a tale with a would-be ‘conversation’ between the secular and sacred (or, rather, the sacred and profane), which was probably better left to Hermann Hesse ?
*** Both the composition / arrangement and the accomplishment reminded of when Thomas Gould and Clare Finnimore had played a selection of Béla Bartók’s Duos), in At Lunch 4 (2015 / 2016 season).
If you want to Tweet, Tweet away here
Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)