Charlotte Saluste-Bridoux (violin) & Ariel Lanyi (piano)

‘Lush Romanticism’ was the promise – they gave us so much better! Clara Schumann’s Op.22, Romance No.1 for violin and piano, is graceful and enchanting, almost fragrant, the perfect opener for a Spring concert. Violin and piano entwined in elegant phrasing and a relaxed performance that was full of delightful nuances. It was not at all the dark and driven Poulenc that the written programme said would open the concert. Whenever I hear Clara Schumann I feel guilty that I know so little of her work and I wonder how it could ever have fallen into such neglect. These two young stars will certainly re-establish this work’s reputation.

On the other hand, Brahms’s first Violin Sonata has always been popular, even if Brahms didn’t rate it so highly himself. From the first phrase we were taken into a nostalgic reverie that was carefully sustained throughout a half hour of bitter-sweet reflection. This was a very adult performance.

We were thus fully in elegiac mode for the Poulenc Sonata, op.119, when it appeared as the finale of this concert. It’s certainly much more dramatic and driven, recalling the murder of Federico Garcia Lorca, but there is a lyrical beauty within the furious anger of the first movement and a loving poignancy in the Intermezzo, which was Poulenc’s starting point. A sense of urgency drove the music on through the finale. Gazing out across her violin, Saluste-Bridoux has a very direct connection with her audience and this helped her manage the false ending of the last movement. As the Presto tragico came to its impassioned, fractured halt, the audience held silence for the full three bars that the final piano chord is given to fade. Then the applause was ecstatic!

All Saints Church,
12 May 2022
Rating: ★★★★★
Andrew Connal

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