A CAPACITY audience was treated to a musical extravaganza in the first of the 2011 Autumn Series of Lunchtime Concerts at St George’s URC last Wednesday.
Guest soloist was Juliette Bausor, the principal flute in Northern Sinfonia, and she gave a thrilling recital, ably backed up by David Murray on piano.
Both are well known in northern musical circles. Juliette has performed as guest principal flute in many orchestras, including the London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic and City of Birmingham Symphony.
She is regularly invited to give solo recitals at major venues and festivals throughout the UK, Europe and the Far East.
David has long been recognised as one of the North East’s most acclaimed pianists and is in constant demand as a soloist and accompanist. He is also well known as a choral trainer and conductor and has had a long association with Northern Sinfonia.
Juliette’s programme consisted of four works for solo flute.
Fantaisie, by French composer Georges Hue, is a formidable challenge because of its huge range of note and technical difficulties. It was written as a test piece for the Paris Conservatoire.
Juliette’s playing of this challenging work was truly supreme. The fast moving passages were clear and concise, while her legato playing portrayed the fine tonal quality she has acquired over the years. This piece tests the limits of the instrument, but Juliette’s mastery of the music was complete — a fabulous performance.
The Flute Sonata in B minor by Bach followed. This is considered Bach’s greatest sonata and Juliette had never previously performed it. Her playing did not suggest this however. The slow passages of the first two movements illustrated the rich tone of her playing and the thrilling allegro, which ends the piece, was performed with verve and great skill.
A feature of this work is the close interplay between flute and piano, with both instruments equal partners. David’s contribution in a most superb rendering was equally impressive.
The Flute Sonata by Francis Poulenc is a great favourite in the flute repertoire, a piece he composed in the Hotel Majestic in Cannes in 1957.
Again, Juliette’s playing was of the highest standard in a piece presenting a variety of emotions in which the flute excels. Outstanding was her playing of the haunting and lilting theme which dominates the second movement. Throughout, however, she was able to make a most challenging work appear easy, so brilliant was her performance.
The final piece was a number of variations on Carnival of Venice by the Italian composer Guilio Briccialdi, who is often referred to as ‘the Paganini of the flute’. This proved a fitting finale to what had been a most enjoyable recital.
Again, Juliette illustrated her brilliance in a demanding set of variations, each appearing more difficult, as the concert was brought to an exhilarating conclusion.
Juliette’s playing was inspired, but David’s contribution cannot be underestimated. He played his part with sympathetic and accomplished piano accompaniment.
A truly wonderful musical experience, which will be long remembered by the large audience who showed its appreciation in long, enthusiastic and sustained applause.