It was the evening before my Wolf Run (which you can read about here) so we decided to do something relaxing and drove over to Wallingford to enjoy a recital from Edgar Bailey and Annie Yim. This was a recital organised by Wallingford Chameleon Arts at St Peter’s Church, Thames Street, Wallingford, and was sponsored by Making Music as part of its Awards for Young Concert Artists Scheme.
Edgar is a splendid violinist, and a very good friend of Debbie’s as they were together at Chetham’s School of Music and the Royal Academy of Music. I have seen his performances a few times now, which means he is well overdue one of my reviews. Annie is a pianist and I had not seen her before this evening.
The evening began with Edgar performing Bach’s Partita No 3 in E major for solo violin, BWV 1006. The excellent programme notes make the point that “at first the three partitas were considered primarily as exercises in technique for the player,” and while that sort of feel certainly came across in the performance, as Edgar excelled at each part, there was a lot more to it than just that. Throughout each movement there was a real sense of line, which transformed the music from a technical exercise into a beautiful piece of music.
He was then joined by Annie for Beethoven’s Violin Sonata in A major, Op 47 (Kreutzer). Again, I will turn to the excellent programme notes to tell you that “the writing for both instruments is full of the type of big boned virtuosity more usually found in a concerto, the instruments vying with each other in acts of musical daring.” This is the zenith of repertoire for the violin and, especially considering it was Edgar’s first performance of this work, he delivered it with real aplomb, particularly his rendition of the first movement, which encapsulates the drama inherent in the piece. The piano had an equally important part in the piece and on this evening’s showing, Annie’s playing certainly suits the music of Beethoven.
After the interval they continued with Elgar’s Violin Sonata in E minor, Op 82, which was a revelation for me as it had an unexpected Vaughan Williams feel to it. Edgar really captured the turbulent nature of the piece and again maintained the beauty of the line.
They brought the recital to an end with a fun piece, Kreisler’s Menuet in G in the Style of Porpora. This is an ‘encore piece’, one of “those deightful bon-bons that keep an audience happy long after the serious business of the concert is over” and it was a nice finale to a programme of serious music.
It had been a very enjoyable run through time, as it turned out, taking us from 1720, through 1803 and 1918, and then back to 1910. It was also nice to see both Edgar and Annie chatting with members of the audience as we left the venue – I would not be surprised to see them invited back again for the next season of concerts.