MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS 23/04/1996
Royal Northern College of Music
This evening devoted to the delights of the clarinet was certainly one for the connoisseur. It featured muslc-making of a quiet integrity and three performers whose spirited skills earned warm applause.
Nobody ls better equipped than Andrew Roberts to work wonders with the instrument. He held centre stage throughout – emphatic, highly expressive and with a technique and command which were a joy to behold.
The opening piece was Lefevre’s Fifth Sonata, notable for a snatch of sweet melody and a bouncy ending. Then followed Mendelssohn’s Konzertstuck No 2 Op. 114, in which Andrew was joined by John Fuest on the basset horn – in reality a tenor clarinet and described as “a rare beast today” in the programme notes. The pair were perfectly complemented, fluent of style and bringing out the emotions of the work beautifully.
Brahms’ exquisite Sonata in A Op. 100 was notable for the fleet-fingered passagework of pianist John Wilson, a man with perfection at his fingertips who accompanied Andrew throughout with magisterial poise.
More treats came after the interval. Prokofiev’s Sonata Op 94 was distinguished by its dazzling finale and McCabe’s Bagatelles for two B flat clarinets, though bitty with eight short character pieces, brought Fuest back with the dynamic duo showing off the complete tonal range of the instrument.
Horovitz’s Sonatina ended the performance. Full of rhythm and harmony, there was more vituoso, finely judged musicianship from the two masters.
With such excellent performers it was disappointing to count fewer than 100 in the audience. Perhaps the evening was too specialised and too highbrow?
Presented by the Arbiter Group and supported by Forsyths.
Article by Tom Waghorn