My Waterloo….Southbank Sinfonia and Nicholas Young at 1901 Arts Club
Very interesting evening on the Southbank yesterday .In fact all revolving around Waterloo …..so this was my Waterloo……….To hear the Southbank Sinfonia,whom I had last heard in Anghiari( Arezzo) ,Italy now in the Church of St John’s ,Waterloo with a free Rush hour concert that comprised not only the Dances of Galanta by Kodaly but also a fabulously passionately concise performance of Sibelius Second Symphony.Some very fine playing but a really exceptional conductor in Natalia Luis-Bassa ,who could steer them through these fragmentary waters to the inevitable overwhelming final statement .
A conductor from the famous El Sistema in Venezuela personified in Gustavo Dudamel who was discovered and brought to Europe by Claudio Abbado .Now established in the UK we will be hearing a lot more of her as we will from the fabulous players in this magnificent apprentices orchestra. Not only Kodaly and Sibelius but also a glass of wine.Hats off indeed.
But next door in Exton Street is the charming Headmaster house that is the 1901 Arts Club that offers a beautiful but intimate space for young musicians in concert and rehearsal. The Hattori Foundation use it for their concerts to promote young musicians and last night it was the turn of the Australian pianist Nicholas Young. What an interesting programme all revolving around London in the 1920’s ……A chance to hear again the two sonatas by Roy Agnew, a little known Australian composer who died in 1944 ,that had been heard the evening before for the Keyboard Charitable Trust at Steinways .
A very interesting Second Sonata by Arnold Bax that Nicholas in his learned introduction likened to the Liszt Sonata in shape and form.Indeed it had the same quiet beginning and ending and much virtuoso piano writing inbetween . I had no idea that Busoni also spent so much time in London.But as Nicholas again explained that although based in Berlin Busoni loved London and would dress in different ways and go out on the town to meet all spheres of people ………His Berceuse , Toccata and Ten variations on a Prelude by Chopin ( n.20 in Cminor like Rachmaninov) were given such fine performances that I have not heard the like since Serkin played them ( Berceuse and toccata) in London together with op111 ,Schumann Carnaval and Reger Variations – those were the days!
A very musicianly performance of the famous Chaconne finished off this fascinating recital .(The day before Nicholas had indeed included op.111 in his Steinway