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Schumann magic in the morning

PUBLISHED: 17:13 29 January 2001 | UPDATED: 15:03 22 October 2010

Schumann in 1842 (Sunday) @ the John Innes Centre. Reviewer: Michael Drake.

Steven Isserlis (cello) and Ian Brown, Auden Theatre, Gresham's School

With a reputation for performing works not always at the top of promoters' thinking, last evening's programme in the Subscription Concert Series by these world renowned artists was not entirely surprising in its content but nevertheless, extremely colourful. Schumann's 5 Stucke in Volkston started in lively vein followed by a lullaby which the cello soloist in particular managed to detach from the surroundings as he was echoed by piano.

Russian themes are the basis of Britten's unaccompanied Cello Suite No 3 — a virtuoso piece through the complexities of which Isserlis deftly picked his way with artistic concentration and with such variety of tone. The Russian connection continued in Janacek's "Pohadka" (not without wit in the introduction) a fairy story beautifully told in the musically-created intimate atmosphere with the dialogue between cello and piano ending, quite delightfully, "happy ever after". Shostakovich's Sonata was again a vehicle for singing cello tone and sympathetic though emphatic piano accompaniment and given wild abandon to usher in an ethereally melodic slow movement and dashing finale.

Mike Drake

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