REVIEW: Captivating concert from international duo at Sidmouth church

Emily Sun. Picture: Contributed

Emily Sun. Picture: Contributed - Credit: Archant

An international duo wowed audiences with a ‘captivating concert’ at Sidmouth.

Jennifer Hughes. Picture: Contributed

Jennifer Hughes. Picture: Contributed - Credit: Archant

Originating on opposite sides of the globe, Australian violinist Emily Sun and English born pianist Jennifer Hughes are now both London-based and have worked together for a number of years, giving them a close affinity for each other’s playing.

The quality this brings to a performance was evident on Saturday, December 1, in the Parish Church, writes Stephen Huyshe-Shires.

This was the third concert in the Sidmouth Music series.

They opened with Schubert’s Sonata for violin and piano in G minor, which throughout showed how closely they worked, but especially in the dancing interplay between piano and violin in the first and final movements which was a delight to hear.

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This was followed by Grieg’s Sonata no 3. After a vigorous opening, the first movement continued in powerfully expressive mood, nonetheless ornamented with some delicate piano work from Jennifer. A gently romantic second movement separated this from the strongly rhythmic third and the final movement with its sweeping grandeur and exhilarating climax which earned enthusiastic applause from the audience before the interval.

They chose Fauré’s Sonata in A to open the second half, its warm involving passion engaging all ears from the start. The second movement was a hauntingly serene andante which held the audience captive in silence. A brisk and busy opening to the third movement soon yielded to its more playful content and was then followed by the dramatic vigorous finale.

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If anyone had been intent on hearing the programmed Tchaikovsky Valse Scherzo as the final work they might have been disappointed in its substitution.

Fortunately, however, Igor Frolov’s Concert Fantasy on themes from Porgy and Bess got the extrovert and showy performance it deserved and captivated the entire audience.

Throughout, the pair gave a brilliant display with shifting tempi in the Plenty of nothing theme, dreamy and sultry expression to Summertime as but two examples of their prowess. Cheers and applause from the audience, some of whom were on their feet, showed the appreciation felt at this terrific performance from two engaging young stars.

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