Anne Shigh and Caroline Palmer

CHRISTOPHER SMITH John Innes Centre, Norwich


The fourth annual recital in memory of Paul Cross, the respected chairman of Norfolk & Norwich Novi Sad Association, brought a large appreciative audience to this most comfortable of venues.

The programme opened with Joseph Haydn's late Piano Sonata in C. It was performed by the accomplished Caroline Palmer, who allied expertise with impeccable taste.

Under her fingers and with the pedals controlled with total precision, the Steinway sounded like a forte piano. The price of her careful control of resonance was a certain dryness.

But rewards were apparent at every turn in crispness and clarity that brought out charm and wit.

The challenging Chaconne from Bach's second Partita showed Anne Shih in the great form that Norwich audiences have so quickly come to expect from her. The range of dynamics was especially impressive in the flurry of notes.

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Then the two musicians combined in Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata. For this work the pianist rightly opted for a rather more robust tone, though never going so far as to risk spoiling the balance.

The violinist almost literally threw herself into the cyclone of tempestuous emotions. Slight of stature, she swayed with the phrasing and buckled at the knees to put power into rising figures. Her bow emphasised every musical development, and she plucked the strings with sweeping movements of her whole arm.

All this body language formed part of an assured and committed interpretation full of fire and vigour, with contrast from passages that were quieter but still tense and thrilling.

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