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Concert Reviews


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Musical Opinion
December 2001

Richard Harwood at the Purcell Room

"The Kirckman Concert Society's first Autumn event was the recital given by Richard Harwood, partnered by the pianist Dominic Harlan, at the Purcell Room on 24 September. Harwood is a young cellist of exceptional talent, the maturity of whose playing belied his years. I can only describe him as a young adult since it was impossible to calculate his age from the information in the programme but a concerto debut at the age of ten confirms the precocity of his talent. His performance of Brahms' E minor Cello Sonata revealed a deep understanding of the work. After the serenity of the long-phrased Allegro he brought youthful high spirits to the airy textures of the Allegretto and both players responded to the extrovert counterpoint of the finale.

They confirmed the security of their teamwork in Beethoven's Third Cello Sonata, first in the solemnity of the opening Allegro, then in the bouncy, syncopated Scherzo, where both players attempted to emulate the vibrato effect on tied notes advocated by Beethoven's pupil Carl Czerny. The tonal beauty of Harwood's playing was notable in the reflective short Adagio before the duo plunged with evident enjoyment into a sparkling performance of the exhilarating finale.

If confirmation were needed of Richard Harwood's musical maturity it was supplied by the rich, dark sonority of his playing in Lutoslawski's Grave: Metamorphoses, a short work of increasing intensity to which Harwood reacted impressively."

Margaret Davies

 

 

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