The first concert of our 2019/20 season on 1st October 2019 featured two top international instrumentalists: clarinettist Michael Collins and pianist Noriko Ogawa in a superb programme of French music. Given their very busy lives as soloists, we were very fortunate that they were both able to coincide in London for this concert!
The Saint-Saens and Poulenc sonatas for clarinet and piano were a revelation, along with the beautiful Canzonetta by Pierne. The Solo to Concours by Messager, with which they finished, was a tour de force of virtuosity. Earlier Noriko Ogawa had given us two preludes by Debussy, as well as his Images Book 1. She also played Le Piccadilly and Je te veux by Erik Satie. This was a memorable concert by two experts in this repertoire, and was an excellent start to our eighth season.
We were very pleased to welcome the celebrated pianist Melvyn Tan for the second concert of our eighth season on 6th February 2020. Renowned for his many performances and recordings on the fortepiano, Tan showed himself equally at home on a modern Steinway concert grand Model D. The first half contained Beethoven’s late sonata in E major, Op 109, followed by a very early work by Brahms, his sonata in F sharp minor, Op 2. After the interval, Melvyn Tan played Book 2 of Debussy’s Images, following neatly on from Book 1 which we’d heard from Noriko Ogawa in October 2019, and ended his recital with the wonderful Brahms piano pieces Op 119, this time interspersed with three short pieces entitled “Hommage a Brahms” by the contemporary Australian composer Brett Dean, These were highly effective, and Melvyn Tan brought a freshness of approach to the well-known Brahms set. He ended by playing Chopin’s Fantaisie-Impromptu as an encore, which proved very popular with the large audience, and rounded off another excellent and most enjoyable evening.