These afternoon concerts at St David’s make a great addition to the concept calendar. Clarinetist Laura Deignan has been blessed with the RWCMD Ian Stoutzker Prize and working with the likes of Welsh National Opera, her reputation is growing and growing.
In what I assumed was a solo concert, Laura would be joined by Sioned Evans on piano, an unbilled appearance as accompaniment. Sioned had a forceful energy on the keys, masterfully blending duets with Laura in an ever-increasing concert of delights. Laura worked her magic in every piece, proving her love of her instrument with superb programme choices. The Sonata for Clairnet and Piano by Edwin York Bowen was unknown by me, though it made it a great discovery and brilliant concert opener here. It’s joyous nature held throughout, brimming with all sorts of loveliness. The beginning of its Allegro Molto had a rhapsodic persona for piano and the wrapping up of this work only affirmed its inspired creation.
You could get anything with Polish composer Pendercki. His Three Miniatures were brief and had an angular bite and a chilly atmosphere. Both players here held the work together in this fleeting soundscape that did not out stay it’s welocme. A traditional bout of Englishness followed with Stanford’s Three Intermezzi. These also proved to be utterly charming and delightful in nature, the clarinet getting some really chirpy moments, something to really savour. In the Time Pieces by Robert Muczynski, you clearly hear the influence of the music of French composer Olivier Messiaen, his Quartet for the End of time to be precise. The Time Pieces handled both dense phases, parallel with more clear, approachable movements. Though it may not entirely work as a whole, it satisfied both traditional and more experimental appetites.
Through out Laura made for a compelling watch, Sioned also being her match in every manner. I found this to be a expertly chosen concert, making for a stirring afternoon to remember.
St David’s Hall’s next lunch time concert is Huw Watkins, David Adams & Matthew Hunt on 12th November at 1pm, pre-concert talk by John Metcalf at noon in the St Asaph Room. Music by Huw Watkins, Michael Zev Gordon & John Luther Adams.