St George’s Lunchtime Concert
The latest of the 2017 winter/spring series of lunchtime concerts at St George’s United Reformed Church, Morpeth, featured principal violinist of Northern Sinfonia Iona Brown and pianist Jenny Martins.
The pair performed two contrasting works by JS Bach and Beethoven.
Iona has enjoyed playing in the lunchtime concerts and has appeared with the Da Vinci String Quartet and cellist Nick Byrne on previous occasions.
She has been a member of the Northern Sinfonia since 1995 and has guested with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Halle Orchestra as a soloist. Iona has performed with several local orchestras.
Jenny has a master degree in piano performance and enjoys a busy career as a pianist, accompanist and teacher. She works at Leeds College of Music and Newcastle University, as well as playing for several North East choirs, including the Northern Sinfonia Chorus and Quay Voices.
The first work in their programme was JS Bach’s Sonata for Violin and Keyboard in C Minor in four movements.
The first, a solemn largo, was Echoes of St Matthew’s Passion and is filled with foreboding and melancholy.
The following allegro is a total contrast, with violin and piano in perfect co-ordination, playing in a light-hearted manner.
It was back to more serious times in the third movement, with the piano in beautiful moving accompaniment, very similar to Jesu Joy Of Man’s Desiring.
The work ends with a lively allegro, with bold and distinct notation for both instruments.
This was a disciplined and polished performance, with two brilliant musicians in total harmony.
Beethoven’s Sonata for Violin and Piano in F Major is noted for its transitional nature, moving from the classical era into the more romantic style.
It is known as the Spring Sonata, and this is particularly reflected in the brightness and joy expressed in the first allegro.
The violin and piano alternative with the lovely main theme, a smooth moving and lilting melody.
A cantabile style adajo follows, with a sweet and gentle theme, following like a brook in the quiet countryside.
A lively scherzo is next, and the sonata ends with a rondo full of great character and verve.
The rondo theme returns several times and the movement ends with a thrilling climax.
This sonata is a difficult and challenging work, full of complex passages, but Iona and Jenny were more than equal to the challenge.
A musical masterclass was greatly appreciated by a large audience, who gave the two accomplished performers long, enthusiastic and sustained applause.
There is a further concert in this series on Wednesday, June 21, at 12.30pm, when several talented young musicians will perform.
Tickets cost £3 at the door, and tea and coffee will be available from noon.