Music by Beethoven, Debussy & Brahms
Violin Sonata no.6 op.30 no.1 in A
Violin Sonata in G minor L.140
Violin Sonata no.2 op.100 in A
Sonatensatz in C minor
The sixty or so people who were astute enough to attend the recital given by the violinist Oliver Nelson and his pianist partner Vasileios Rakitzis at Guildford United Reformed Church on Friday evening 13th May, enjoyed a concert of bravura performance.
In a programme of Beethoven, Brahms and Debussy, both artists displayed consummate musicianship and technical skill throughout.
Written between 1801 and 1802 The Beethoven Sonata No 6 in A op.30 no.1 provided an attractive commencement with a charming and lively first movement having the usual interplay between both instruments. An expressive slow section followed, before the final series of Variations explored many changes of tempo and rhythm, whilst the players always infused the writing with vitality and joy.
As a complete contrast, the Debussy "Sonata" written in 1917 with three movements, noted perhaps for its brevity, transported us into the composer`s kaleidoscopic wonderland of unusual harmonic colours, thus allowing us to revel in the artists`superb ability to express the atmospheric "je ne sais quoi" of the music. To evoke such musical impressionism needs long acquaintance with the " nuts and bolts" of classically trained technique and must surely take many years to acquire.
After the interval the rest of the programme was devoted to Brahms, The Sonata in A op.100 written in 1886 has three movements and is the shortest of three sonatas. Very lyrical in style with thrusting melodic intervals it has many attractive tunes and references to songs of the composer. The middle movement incorporates a scherzo like section and the final part is again graceful and lyrical.
Finally we heard a storming performance of the"Sonatensatz" in C minor. This is the Scherzo of a composite sonata written by three composers who took a movement each, and Brahms contributed this part. A most exciting piece, played with exceeding panache, which had the audience applauding these highly gifted musicians, before going home, once again elated by the effects of Saint Cecilia on the cerebral cortex!
Oliver Nelson was born in Glasgow and began learning the violin at the age of six. He gained scholarships to both Canford School and the Royal Academy of Music. During his time at the Academy, Oliver studied the violin with Xue-Wei and conducting with Denise Ham and Colin Metters and appeared as leader and soloist with the Academy String Orchestra.
His achievements include winning the Academy Concerto Competition, the Winifred Small Violin Competition and the building of his concerto repertoire with Gli Amici Della Musica, Dorset Youth Orchestra, Christchurch Sinfonia, and Da Vinci Ensemble.
He is now in high demand as a recitalist with Andrew Ball, Peter Croser, and Roy Stratford having recently performed at venues such as St.Martin-in-the-Fields and St.James Piccadilly in London.
As a soloist he has appeared with orchestras in this country and abroad including the Amaretti Ensemble, Dorset Chamber Orchestra, Dorking Philharmonia, Gorton Philharmonic, High Peaks Symphony Orchestra, Hertford Symphony Orchestra, Manchester Beethoven Orchestra, Unley Symphony Orchestra of Adelaide, Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra, Wilmslow Symphony Orchestra and the Winchester Symphony Orchestra.
Oliver’s concerto performances have ranged from performing Bruch’s 1st Violin Concerto at both the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and Edinburgh Central Hall, the Tchaikovsky Concerto in Adelaide, Australia, and Mozart Concertos 3 and 5 with the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra in Muscat, Oman. With the latter orchestra, Oliver was invited to perform as soloist in a private performance in the palace of the Sultan of Oman.
Oliver also leads a busy life teaching the violin at The Royal School and Hindhead Music Centre in Surrey and is regularly involved in adjudicating, coaching and masterclasses.