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Jack Liebeck (violin) & Piers Lane (piano) - Blackheath Sundays 6 February 2005

Beethoven - Sonata Op. 24 'Spring' for Piano & Violin
Prokofiev - Violin Sonata No 1 in F minor, Op. 80
R Strauss - Violin Sonata in E flat major, Op. 18
Massenet - Meditation from Thais

Here is an impressive up and come young violinist, trained at the Purcell School of Music and the Royal Academy of Music, who has released a debut recital CD and presented at Blackheath a challenging and perfectly balanced programme which the nearly capacity audience was privileged to attend. This was duo playing of the highest calibre, Piers Lane an established recording virtuoso, his partner Jack Liebeck a relative newcomer. Balance with the Bösendorfer (the lid thrust fully open of course) was ideal and Liebeck showed the sensitivity of give and take which is imperative in Beethoven's Spring Sonata, an apt choice for an early spring morning, with blossoms beginning to break out.

Prokoviev's nominally first violin sonata is strenuous and demanding for players and listeners. It was duly overwhelming in the Recital Room. (The other, included on Liebeck's debut CD, is a transcription for Oistrakh of the flute sonata.)

The early Strauss sonata is certainly worth hearing occasionally, especially with an accomplished romantic pianist like Piers Lane to make light of the plethora of notes, but it does get a bit lost in its working out of the material, particuarly in the last movement. The Thais Meditation was a perfect choice for an encore to calm us down.

This was a recital which, had it been recorded by microphones placed near where we were sitting towards the back, was played with such uncanny accuracy and unanimity of ensemble, would have needed no balance adjustment or 'patching'. Nor would it have been affected by a far-too-young restless small girl near us who was kept quiet, but provided a constant irritating visual distraction.

Debut CD:
Jack Liebeck & Katya Apekisheva

Prokofiev - Sonata No. 2 in D major
Ysaÿe - Solo Sonata No. 3 "Ballade"
Chausson - Poème Op. 25
Saint-Saëns - Sonata No. 1 in D minor

QUARTZ QTZ 2002 [70:00]

Best is the Prokofiev; good to have heard the two, very contrasted, violin sonatas on the same day. I also enjoyed the Ysaÿe unaccompanied sonata and Chausson's Poème, unusually here with piano accompaniment.

The Saint-Saens sonata seemed to me to warrant its neglect nowadays; pleasant to hear once, but quickly forgotten, so not a good choice for a CD?

You can watch Jack Liebeck & Katya Apekisheva playing Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata on Jack's well organised website.

Next CD to be released by Jack Liebeck will be the Dvorak violin concerto.


© Peter Grahame Woolf