23 February 2013

A minor gem returns

My monthly St Albans lunchtime concert is a little gem that I look forward to. It’s relaxed, intimate, small and features some very capable musicians coordinated by Louise Page. I missed it while in recess over Christmas, but it returned this week with the Lorenz Duo, pianist Wendy and violinist Andrew, performing Blake, Beethoven and an encore by Kreisler. This pair has serious history, performing internationally, leading several orchestras and teaching at conservatoria. They are now living in Canberra and performing with David Pereira in the Trio Empyrean and presumably otherwise.

The performance was of two pieces. Firstly, Howard Blake’s Penillion variations. This is modelled on a Welsh style of singing improvised verses over well-known melodies. The variations were bookmarked by an attractive folky melody in triple time with the slices sounding of gypsy-folk with double stops, floating mystical watery interludes, piano / violin conversations, rising and falling piano chords with overlaid melody and more. Then the major work, Beethoven’s Violin sonata no.10 in G major. This was composed in 1812 and was his last sonata, following the Archduke. It’s written in four movements: the first is spacious and mature and quite lengthy; the second, classically profound; the third, a fast accented scherzo; the fourth, a series of variations on various folk-like themes. The duo returned for a quick encore on Fritz Kreisler’s Ladies light, a romantic work in 3/4. How pleasant was this chamber concert. The Lorenzes play with vivid intimacy and with interpretation that is romantic and joyous and openly physical. The glances are occasional as they wait to come in together and the smiles are easy towards the end of a successful concert. So it was here. A very nice chamber outing to start another St Albans series. Wendy Lorenz (piano) and Andrew Lorenz (violin) performed as the Lorenz Duo at St Albans.

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