Royal Academy of Music

CHRISTOPHER SMITH The Assembly House, Norwich (Norfolk and Norwich Festival)


The Assembly House, Norwich (Norfolk and Norwich Festival)

In perfect harmony with the calm elegance of their surroundings, Sally Beck and Tanya Houghton opened their lunchtime flute and harp recital with a Sonata by Bach. Which Bach? Probably the great JS, but perhaps his son, Johann Christian, who was a favourite in Georgian London.

The long phrases and deliberate rhythms of the calm Siciliano brought out the liveliness of the more boisterous movements that came before and after. The flute part could have done with crisp articulation as the harp tinkled happily on.

A Lieberman Sonata brought us to the 20th century. In the three major episodes of a single movement, the American composer contrasted the flute's sinuous line with the assertiveness of the harp's vigorous chords. Alwyn developed a relationship between the two instruments similarly in his poetic, if rather lengthy Naiades.

Short pieces by Jacques Ibert and Maurice Ravel were testimony to the French fondness for rhythms that created a seduc-tive romantic vision of Spain.

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An alteration in the order of the programme caused a little confusion and called for a number of distracting announcements. Artistically the change was not worth the bother.

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