Chloë Hanslip is a lovely person; polite, gentle and kind with no hint of arrogance. Despite being an artist of international distinction who has played with major orchestras and at major venues across the world, Chloë insisted that she was grateful to be included in our series! She may be seen as a relatively quiet and shy person, however, once she started to perform she changed into a complete extrovert; she wanted her music to be heard.
It was an absolute delight to hear two of J S Bach’s substantial solo violin works. From the first chord of the Adagio of Sonata No.1, Chloë drew the audience in. Her silky sound had transparency, subtleness and strength, which was conveyed straight to us. The Fuga had pureness and dynamism; it was stimulating as she breathed life into every note and chord. The Partita No. 2 in D minor, perhaps the most well-known of Bach’s six Sonatas and Partitas, was a pure joy. From the serene Allemanda, more vibrant Corrente, through to the mega work of Chaconne, in the intimate atmosphere of Breinton we could appreciate every note, every stroke and even every bow hair, which Chloë executed with extreme precision. Her pianissimos were truly divine and her fortissimos could not be more convincing; what an emotional and spiritual journey they brought. The final movement, Chaconne, was an account of the most powerful feelings and thoughts. It was rapturous.
What a sacred bliss Biber’s Passacaglia was. The divine theme and variations played with minimal vibratos were magical and evocative, touching the core of our hearts.
Sergei Prokofiev’s Sonata for solo violin gave an excellent kick to the evening’s programme. It is rarely played in public, and I am rather embarrassed to admit that I didn’t even know it exists. It is said to have been composed for conservatoire students, therefore more as an exercise than a virtuosic piece. However, I thought it had many lovely elements, particularly the first movement. Chloë played it with contrasts; we heard the striking chords, powerful lower register notes (sometimes her bow bounced on the string!), funky rhythmical passages and singing melodic lines.
Chloë has lead a unique life that normal people could not even imagine. Her extraordinary talent was recognized at a very early stage, as she was invited by Yehudi Menuhin to study at his school when she was actually too young to start. She travelled to Germany at the age of seven with her mother, separated from the rest of family, to study with the world-famous Russian pedagogue Zahkar Bron. From then on, her life of travelling, learning and performing has never stopped. She never had a normal childhood; her life of constantly trying to be best must have put huge strain on her shoulders, but she says she would never change it for the world and that she absolutely loves what she does.