It was a buzzing, exciting and high-spirited evening at Breinton. We welcomed four very young performers: Dylan Price (piano); Katarina Davies (cello); Erika Smith-Gordon (violin); and James Cobb (tenor). Each performed with confidence and own style, bringing out their best for the audience.
First up was pianist Dylan Price. Within a limited allocated time (each performer was given 25 minutes), his programme introduced a broad range of composers from different periods. The Bach’s Partita and Beethoven’s early Sonata were tastefully performed before an apparent mood change of a short piece by the living composer Carl Vine. Everyone held their breath with the dynamic Finale of Ginastera’s Sonata No. 2 before bursting into a full applause.
Despite her very young age, cellist Katarina Davies was technically assured and extremely well set-up. Cassado’s Preludio-Fantasia was bold and frank, sincerely played. The dramatic Saint-Saen’s cello Concerto was presented with such musicality, which was eagerly received by the audience. It was amazing to see that she showed not a slightest hint of difficulty in performing this demanding concerto.
Erika Smith-Gordon performed all four movements of Brahms Sonata No. 3 in D minor. Her love of this Sonata was clear, her performance was exhilarating and deeply engaged. From a slight whistling to dynamic fortissimo, every note was played with care. I noticed that for the both string players (Katarina and Erika), albeit on different instruments, their bow engagement with the strings was very secure, creating deep and connecting sounds. It meant real business, no scraping around! Their vibratos were effective as well, adding musical expressions and voicing.
Tenor singer James Cobb added another layer of pleasure to the evening. James possessed an excellent grip of his beautiful voice, having everything – volume, depth, breath, texture and expression – under control. With his naturally likeable character, he made the audience at ease.
Needless to say this concert was not possible without the expertise of pianist Rosie Richardson, who accompanied Katarina, Erika and James. And we thank Ronan Thomas very much for page turning during the entire evening.