Lana Trotovsek and Maria Canyigueral violin and piano recital review

WONDERFUL RAVEL VIOLIN SONATA AT LEAMINGTON MUSIC FESTIVAL


Royal Pump Rooms, Leamington Spa *****
Leamington Music managed to keep the flag flying as we gradually emerged from the darkest days of the pandemic, and has at last managed to reclaim its place in the MayDay sun for the much-loved Leamington Music Festival.
LMF's planned celebrations of 2020's 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth had to be abandoned, but another timely anniversary, the sesquicentenary of Ralph Vaughan Williams, has given a tight motivation to this year's programme.
Saturday's lunchtime recital brought Slovenian violinist Lana Trotovsek and Catalan pianist Maria Canyigueral to the exquisitely accommodating Royal Pump Rooms, the warm acoustic perfect for this kind of presentation, presenting to us an absolutely spellbinding account of RVW's The Lark Ascending. Such a performance from non-Brits can only advance the cause of this composer as being considered as more than a little Englander, and some of his works do indeed transcend national boundaries.
The evocative trills of The Lark had been prepared for in the preceding Tartini Devil's Trill Sonata, Trotovsek's amazing Fritz Kreisler cadenza astounding us all into stunned silence, while Canyigueral, who had made the excellent piano sound almost harpsichord-like, also sat appreciatively marvelling.
We had begun with excerpts from Prokofiev's Cinderella, characterful and crafty, lyrical and pointed, with these performers fresh from setting them on CD for SOMM-Recordings.
But for me the blinding highlight of this wonderful recital was the gripping performance of the Ravel Violin Sonata. This was where the permanent empathy between these musicians really shone, both attuned to the work's technical demands as well as to each other, Trotovsek's bowing and witty pizzicato matched by the most expressive multiple-stopping, Canyigueral turning her piano into a jazz band and back again into an aura of atmospheric charisma.
Christopher Morley

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