Nikolai Demidenko

FRANK CLIFF New Cut, Halesworth


New Cut, Halesworth

Halesworth's Arts Festival, now in its fifth year, covers a wide range of events most of them taking place in The Cut Art Centre, whose auditorium with its excellent acoustic provides a fine venue for chamber music.

The first half was mostly a collection of lesser-known works by Mozart, the Sonata in A minor K310 being the only substantial work.

Demidenko is a virtuoso who brings drama and colour to all the music he plays and thus it was in his Mozart; only the waltz for the mechanical organ K616 and a wonderfully imaginative performance of the slow movement of the A minor sonata lightening the heightened colour he brought to the rest.

It may not have been Mozart to everyone's taste but it showed that there is more than one way to play his music and it was very refreshing to hear it performed in this way in an age where so much sounds like clinical perfection.

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There was just one work in the second half: Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. It is not that often that one gets a chance to hear this work in its original version and this was as vivid a performance as one could hope to hear: a deliciously light Tuileries, and Ballet of the Chicks or evoking Russian gloom as wonderfully as in The Old Castle and Catacombs.

The linking promenades were beautifully contrasted and the grand finale, The Great Gate Kiev, was breath-taking. Wonderful music- making of a kind seldom heard nowadays.

t The festival continues until October 29. Box office 01986 874264.