February 2004 edition
Hall, London : 17 November 2003
Richard Harwood shared a programme with pianist Helen Reid in one of the Park
Lane Group's Monday Platforms at the Wigmore Hall on 17 November. Harwood performed
sonatas by Beethoven and Barber with great aplomb. The former's Sonata in D major
op.102 no.2 was elegant, fresh and laced with a passion that was never overdone.
The slow movement was extraordinarily beautiful - and here pianist Irina Botan
showed herself an eminently sensitive partner, emphasising and supporting Harwood's
arching lines. The sparkling finale was full of wit and character.
Cello Sonata op.6 was written before the composer graduated from the Curtis Institute
and shows great powers of lyrical intensity for one so young: the seeds of his
later work are ever present, and these characteristic extremes of emotion were
captured with real fire and concentrated passion by Harwood and Botan. In the
short, singing slow movement Harwood allowed a lighter mood to break through,
and the playful edginess of the Scherzando was perfectly judged. The sweeping
fervour of the final movement showed both players in their element, their performance
warm and spontaneous."