Beethoven, Poulenc and Franck
Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 8 in G major Op. 30
Sonata for Violin and Piano FP 119
— Interval —
Sonata for Violin and Piano
From the first exciting opening bars of the Beethoven, it was apparent that in the violinist Emily Sun and pianist Jennifer Hughes, we were to hear two artistes of the highest calibre. Playing for us on Sunday afternoon 13th January to an audience of around fifty people, which alas, only included the usual dearth of followers from our own congregation, we were treated to a recital of music worthy of Wigmore Hall standard.
Starting with the Beethoven sonata in G op.30, this was played with a joyful exuberance and drive in the two outer movements and graceful and delightful charm in the central minuet. It was indeed fascinating to hear the subtle dynamics and follow the interplay between the players conversing musically, each complementing the other in a masterly intercourse. This was perhaps only to be expected, as both have Masters degrees, as a glance at their CV`s will confirm.!
The Poulenc Violin and piano sonata FP119, is another, but lesser known, three movement work written between 1942 and 43 in memory of the Spanish poet Lorca, and as such owes more to Spanish influences than French. Apparently Poulenc was not too enamoured with writing for the violin and was more at home with wind instruments, so this sonata is far removed from the whimsicality of works like his flute sonata. Both the first and last movements require a virtuosic standard of ability to cope with the necessary demands of dashing vitality, lyricism and sudden stabbing forzandos, all, encompassing a quieter middle intermezzo. Altogether this is a formidable work both to play and to hear, and is well worth further acquaintance especially when performed by such musicians as Emily and Jennifer.
Lastly, and after the interval, we heard the great A major violin and piano sonata of Cesar Franck. This is surely one of the favourite and best known works in the repertoire and is renowned for its difficult piano part especially in the second movement. Written in 1886 and meant as a wedding present for the virtuoso violinist Eugene Ysaye, it has four movements in cyclic form with repeated thematic references throughout. Commencing with a dreamy but captivating first movement, the second, as a contrast, is highly passionate with cascades of intertwined notes requiring absolute control from both players. Next comes a free style and almost improvised section before the final glorious movement with its cannon like structure within the rondo, leading up to a dramatic and enthralling climactic end. Truly a great work and superbly performed by these two players who after sustained applause played Kreisler`s arrangement of Rachmaninov`s "Vocalise" as an encore with which to finish what must have been one of our very best concerts.
Australian violinist Emily Sun is rapidly gaining international recognition as a rising soloist. She was awarded the Gold Medal of the 2016 Royal Overseas League Music Competition UK, the first violinist to win the award since 1981.
She is the winner of all major Australian violin competitions, including the coveted Symphony Australia Young Performer of the Year Strings Award. She has won all available prizes at the Royal College of Music including the Violin Competition 2012 and Concerto Competition 2015. Emily is a prizewinner in many international competitions including Yampolsky International Violin Competition (Russia), Bromsgrove International Competition (UK), Royal-Overseas-League Music Competition (UK) Brahms International Competition (Austria) and Lipizer International Violin Competition (Italy). She was selected as a Young Concert Artist for The Tillett Trust and Making Music UK.
Emily won the category of ‘Best Newcomer’ in Australia’s classical arts ‘Limelight Magazine Awards’, as the lead role in acclaimed feature-length documentary ‘Mrs Carey’s Concert’. The documentary was the longest running documentary in Australian cinema history and has been shown in film festivals across the world to acclaimed reviews.
She made her concerto debut with the East-West Philharmonic Orchestra at age 10, and has since been a regular soloist with the Sydney, Melbourne, Tasmanian, Queensland, Canberra Symphony Orchestras and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Internationally, she has performed with US orchestras Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra, Garland Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Arlington and Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra; China’s Shanghai Youth Orchestra, Romania’s Mihail Jora Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Moscovia Chamber Orchestra Russia.
Emily is a BBC Introducing Artist, and her performances have been broadcast on ABC Classic FM (Australia), BBC Radio 3 (UK), Kol Hamusica (Israel), and WXQR (USA). She has performed as soloist in international venues such as the Sydney Opera House, Tchaikovsky Great Hall Moscow, Tel Aviv Opera House, Auditorium du Louvre, and Wigmore Hall.
Emily has participated in international festivals such as Keshet Eilon International Mastercourse in Israel, Académie Musicale de Villecroze in France, and the Young Artists Program in Canada, working in masterclass with Ivry Gitlis, Pinchas Zukerman, Pierre Amoyal, Augustin Dumay and Maxim Vengerov. She studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with Dr Robin Wilson and since 2011 she studies at the Royal College of Music with Itzhak Rashkovsky, graduating Bachelor of Music and Masters of Music with First Class Honours. She is currently pursing an Artist Diploma at the Royal College of Music and is Artist-in-Residence at Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth (Belgium) mentored by Augustin Dumay.
Jennifer Hughes is a collaborative pianist specialising in the repertoire for piano and strings. Based in London and Cambridge, she has performed across Europe at venues including Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, Bridgewater Hall, Oslo Opera House, St John’s Smith Square, St James’s Piccadilly and broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. She has also appeared at Festivals in Italy, Sweden, Norway, Russia and China as well as across the UK. She recently released a disc 'Ireland, Delius & Bax: Cello Sonatas' with Lionel Handy (Lyrita).
Jennifer is Duo Coach for the String Department at the Royal College of Music. She has also accompanied and coached students at Aldeburgh Young Musicians, New Virtuosi International Mastercourse, Festival Quattro Corde and Voksenasen SummerAcademy.
Jennifer has been awarded the Royal Over-Seas League Accompanist’s Prize, the AESS Patricia Routledge National English Song Competition Accompanist’s Prize, the Joaninha Trust Accompanist’s Prize, the Titanic Memoriam Prize (RCM) and an award from the Geoffrey Parsons Memorial Trust. She is also a Park Lane Group Artist.
She studied with Hilary Coates as a DfES Scholar at Wells Cathedral School and later graduated with Bachelor and Masters Degrees from the Royal College of Music where she studied with John Blakely and Roger Vignoles. Her studies were supported by the Draper’s Company, Henry Wood Trust, Help Musicians UK and the Worshipful Company of Founders. Jennifer also held the Gilbert and Eileen Edgar Junior Fellowship in piano accompaniment at the RCM.