Review: singer and pianist present classical concert at Sidholme music room

Alison Kettlewell and Joyce Clarke. Picture: Contributed

Alison Kettlewell and Joyce Clarke. Picture: Contributed - Credit: Contributed

Varied programme entertains audience in beautiful surroundings

On Sunday, October 21, a bright, sunny autumn afternoon, Alison Kettlewell, mezzo-soprano and Joyce Clarke, pianist, delighted their audience with a programme that echoed the brightness of the autumn leaves through the windows of Sidholme’s elegant music room.

Their recital started with Alison singing four songs by Roger Quilter, a composer who wrote so eloquently for the voice and a great favourite amongst singers and audiences alike. Alison’s rich mezzo embraced these songs with the warmth and sensitivity which are the hallmarks of this composer’s work.

And then to, possibly, the most popular examples of the German song: Franz Schubert’s An die Musik – his outpouring of thanks to this “noble art” that gives comfort and inspiration, and Robert Schumann’s romantic Widmung, a fulsome dedication to his beloved Clara.

Joyce Clarke, following the romantic theme, chose, for her first solo, one of Mendelssohn’s Songs without Words, that in E flat opus 30 no1. Well known to Sidholme audiences as a popular soloist and with her performances with the Beacon Piano Trio, Joyce played with her usual sensitive and engaging style. Next Alison Kettlewell turned to Elgar with two songs from Sea Pictures: the well known Where Corals Lie and the moving Sabbath Morning at Sea. Having sung Sea Pictures many times with orchestra ( I remember hearing her once in Plymouth) she found a greater intimacy with the piano, and here the piano and voice were as one.

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Joyce Clarke then turned to the current season with a masterly performance of Chaminade’s descriptive Automne with its portrayal of gentle sunny days interrupted by sudden stormy winds pulling the leaves from the trees, before returning to the calm opening melody. Alison Kettlewell rounded off the programme returning to her wide operatic repertoire with two very popular arias: the seductive Seguidilla from Bizet’s Carmen and Mon Coeur s’ouvre a ta Voix from Saint-Saens’ Samson et Delilah.

The audience demanded an encore and Alison obliged with a wistful rendering of the Scottish/Irish traditional song “I know where I’m goin’”

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How fortunate we are to be able to enjoy such delightful and accomplished musicians in such a wonderful music room.


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