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Marie Macleod & Martin Sturfalt
Purcell Room 14 June 2005

Francis Poulenc Cello Sonata
Serge Prokofiev Cello Sonata in C Op.119
Anton Webern Two Pieces for Cello & Piano (1899)/Cello Sonata (1914)/Three Little Pieces for Cello & Piano
Felix Mendelssohn Cello Sonata No.2 in D Op.58

For their Kirckman Concert Society recital at the Purcell Room the English cellist Marie Macleod and her Swedish partner Martin Sturfalt presented an intriguing programme that allowed both participants scope for rich and communicative performances.

The first half of the programme comprised two Sonatas completed within roughly a year of each other in the late 1940s. The cellist found the right tone in the Poulenc Sonata, particularly in the Cavatine, balancing the seriousness that underlies the piece with its charm. One could imagine Pierre Bernac's voice at times communing with the players in a most satisfactory traversal of this bittersweet work with its mood changes.

Miss Macleod then displayed a powerful and rich voice in the symphonic Prokofiev sonata. The interplay between the musicians allowed both the noble and poetic sound of the work to resonate whilst at the same time they allowed life to be breathed into the more profound and tragic depths of the work. This was a passionate and moving performance.

The second half featured the complete works for cello and piano by Webern. The first two pieces were rather tuneful shorts written by the teenage Webern. They were then followed by the Sonata, really an initial sketch written in 1914, which could work as a stand alone, and this in turn by the aphoristic Little Pieces, choosing just the right approach, playing with wit and the mixture of astringency and vivacity required.

The recital ended with a very rich performance of the second Mendelssohn Sonata, an ideal contrast with the Webern, and a piece that allowed again for excellent interplay between the musicians, their enjoyment of the music making shared by Mr Sturfalt's page turner,the distinguished pianist John York.

The concert was an excellent advertisement again for Kirckmann Society and its support for young artists.

Mark Dennis


© Peter Grahame Woolf