A suitable start to a new series of concert delights

Emma Straughan (Oboe) and Ken Irvine (Piano) at the Lunchtime Concert.
Emma Straughan (Oboe) and Ken Irvine (Piano) at the Lunchtime Concert.

The first of the 2015 Winter/Spring Series of Lunchtime Concerts, held at St George’s United Reformed Church, featured three local, young, up and coming musicians, tenor Richard Pinkstone, folk fiddler Hannah Slater-Patterson and oboeist Emma Straughan.

Richard has a music degree from York University and has recently been accepted to study for his Masters at the Royal College of Music. Hannah has achieved Diploma standard with violin, and has developed as a skilled folk fiddler. Emma is no stranger to the Lunchtime Concerts and since gaining her BMus (Hons) and LRSM has featured as a well-known local soloist and music teacher.

Hannah opened with two classical compositions, Tempo de Menuetto by Kreisler and Ave Maria by Gounod.

In the first, she maintained a steady rhythmic movement with style and verve, which contrasted sharply with the gentle flowing and beautiful theme of the second. There were some slight intonation problems in the long legato passages, but this did little to detract from the overall musical presentation in which she played with a lovely rich tone.

Hannah followed with a selection of folk tunes, where her impressive performance illustrated great skill in her control over very fast moving passages, which were played with clarity and precision.

Richard opened with the very popular Where’er You Walk by Handel, followed by two folk songs, My Lovely Celia by Munro and In Summertime On Bredon by Peel.

It was obvious from the start that he possesses a fine tenor voice, with a very extensive range. In all the songs there was excellent tonal quality and a clarity of sound, with much feeling and empathy towards the music.

He followed with three English songs by Roger Quilter, all of which were a delight to the ear and all beautifully presented. The last, Love’s Philosophy, was particularly well sung, and throughout voice and piano combined with stunning effect.

Emma’s choice of music was particularly challenging. From her first composition, Teleman’s Sonato in A Minor through to Schumann’s Romance and on to Harty’s Chansonette and Madeleine Dring’s Danza Gaya, a massive musical challenge was presented.

Her playing throughout was confident and accurate, and she coped admirably with the changing tempos in the Sonata, and the Romance was outstanding in its clarity and mood.

The last piece, Danza Gaya, provided an exciting finale to the concert.

The piano accompaniment was provided by resident pianist Ken Irvine, who in spite of not featuring for some considerable time, showed he had lost none of his professional skills on the keyboard. His playing was of the highest standard, and the highlight was the interplay between soloist and piano in the trio of Quilter songs.

This winter warmer provided a most enjoyable first concert in this series.