We are again endebted to Carlina Carr for bringing us another fine string player, this time the brilliant Bulgarian violinist Emil Chakalov. Their programme comprised Mozart's sonata in B flat K454, Ravel's Sonata No 2 in G, and Fauré's first sonata, Opus 13 in A.
After the refined classicism of the Mozart, the tonal world of Ravel's sonata (completed in 1927) came as something of a shock. For a time the first movement seems to be in a very dark place, wandering in a kind of chromatic wilderness, but it then moves wondrously towards the light of major chords and all seems well again. The second movement is strongly influenced by jazz, with bluesy slides in the violin and completely different syncopations in the piano: the concentration of the performers on the tricky score was palpable. The lively final movement took us nicely to the interval where one of the audience remarked that he had heard the Ravel several times in concert but never played better!
After the break, the opening of the Fauré seemed to stutter slightly but Carlina was soon back in her stride and the soaring violin melodies made me think of red kites gliding over the Chilterns... A generous encore composed by Fritz Kreisler brought this highly enjoyable evening to a close. We hope very much to see both performers again.
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