FLORENTINE ARTS ENSEMBLE

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St Georges, Bristol lunchtime concert

30th April 2015

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St George's Bristol continued with its excellent series of lunchtime concerts on Thursday 30 April 2015 with another diverse selection from the classical repertoire played by two first-class soloists.

Liv-Marie Kodurand on violin and Jan Rautio on piano whisked the impressively packed out audience (for a Thursday lunchtime, at least) through a mesmerizing musical tour de force.

The imposing grandfather of classical music, Ludwig van Beethoven, got proceedings off to a typically wonderful and musically enriching start with his Sonata for violin and piano No 3 in E flat. The four movement work was typically Beethovinian in its structure and musical energy, incorporating the master's familiar ebbs, flows, passions and power, spirited and spritely, mournful and moving, never anything less than musically inspiring from its breezy start to its fiery finish.

The middle section of the concert was given over to Sonata No 2 'Poeme', a one-movement piece composed by the rarely-heard Russian composer, Georgy Catoire. At nearly 20 minutes, its duration allowed sufficient scope to develops its themes and expressionistic soundscape, from relatively tender, mysterious beginnings to a culmination of rapidly building, continually ravishing and sensuously passionate beauty, culminating in an intense final section and coming to a plaintive finish.

Josef Suk's Four Pieces was a ravishing four movement mix that was by turns romantic, cheeky, playful, impassioned, toe-tapping, folk-like and, at times, giddily furious.

Soloists Kodurand and Rautio were exceptional, in total control of their instruments and evident masters of the material. Rautio's lightning-fast piano fingers did total justice to some of the pieces' more whirling dirvish, relentlessly fast moments, while Kodurand made her violin sing with sublime, exquisite beauty during the mellower passages and stridently kick serious backside in the more demanding ones.

If you've never attended one of St George's lunchtime concerts and if you ever get a chance, I urge you to go. They might be short and sweet - roughly an hour with no interval - but they pack more of a musical punch than many two-hour concerts you'll sit through. And with some of the finest musical talent from around the world showcasing some of the most interesting, often neglected, lesser-played compositions, it will open your ears to a whole new sonic soundscape.

365bristol.com: Jamie Caddick

Michael Gray's Arts Blog
michaelgray.blogspot.co.uk

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...our appreciation is greatly enhanced by this imaginative chamber recital by two members of the Florentine Arts Ensemble.

The last work, late Debussy the Sonata in G minor, seems particularly apposite in these surroundings, but there were less obvious pleasures in the hour-long programme, introduced by Jo Rhymer from the National Gallery. One of Szymanowsky's Myths [1915] , depicting a dreamlike, watery world with veiled tonalities and shimmering sunlight. Or the late Romantic Catoire's Poeme, packed with lush harmonies and long sweeping melodies. And earlier Debussy for piano solo, Reflets dans l'eau, an enchanting attempt to depict the fall of light in musical terms.

All beautifully interpreted by Liv-Marie Kodurand on violin and Jan Rautio at the piano...

This event was part of the programme inspired by Inventing Impressionism, a fascinating exhibition about the collector and dealer Paul Durand-Ruel.

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