Harwood at the Purcell Room
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.
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.
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."