Duo Delight the Blenheim Music Circle

Phoebe Woollam hopes Ruth Corney and Robert Thompson return

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On Sunday 13th May Ruth Corney - flute and Robert Thompson – piano gave a delightful concert for the Blenheim Music Circle at the Catholic Centre in Duke's Avenue, Chiswick. Both these musicians are experienced chamber performers and their choice of programme was imaginative and demanding.

The afternoon opened with the Sonata for Flute and Piano by Poulenc. From the outset our attention was captured by the sensitive ensemble playing. However, as usual, the limitations of the piano made it extremely difficult for Robert Thompson to match the flute's dynamic, especially at the end of the first movement and again in the second movement where it is so difficult to achieve a convincing “line”. The third movement, played with splendid articulation, displayed their masterly technique.

The Suite in G Minor Op. 5 No. 1 by Hotteterre was a charming (if rather over-long) piece and here we heard beautiful tone, controlled phrasing and a piano texture that was appropriate given that it must have been written for harpsichord. There was some haunting melodic writing, beautiful ensemble playing and an energetic, well-articulated Gigue as the last movement.

I assume the CPE Bach Sonata in G major No. 11 Vol. VI was written for fortepiano, and here Robert Thompson again used an appropriate keyboard texture, although for the most part he was providing mere harmonic support. It was a typically “charming” early classical work with delightful, much decorated melodic writing in the flute part.

The Fantasie Pastorale Hongroise by Doppler was typical of 19th Century writing with a recitative-like piano opening and very embellished flute writing leading to a big piano solo. It was extremely technically demanding for both instruments and we heard some wonderfully lyrical playing.

Ruth Corney played Debussy's Syrinx from the back of the hall, an inspired move that captured the mood completely and made us really focus on the beautifully controlled sound.

The concert ended with a Sonatine by Henri Dutilleux, a French composer aged ninety five who is much influenced by Ravel and Debussy. This was a fascinating piece, sadly interrupted during the second movement by police sirens and the church clock, but there was some very dramatic writing for both instruments.

I do hope we will hear these two young musicians again in Chiswick. They gave us a delightful afternoon.

Phoebe Woollam


The next concert is on Sunday 14th July 2013

At 3.30 pm in the Chiswick Catholic Centre.

With the ‘cellist Laura Isaacson and

the pianist Massa Tayama


June 1, 2013

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