Emmanuel Bach (Violin), Jenny Stern (Piano)
Music societies around the UK have long been able to benefit from young musicians who have been sponsored by charitable organisations dedicated to the development of artists at the outset of their performing careers. This legacy has enabled concert promoters to devise concert seasons that include such award holders, thereby easing to some degree their financial constraints.
One such organisation is the Countess on Munster Trust which for many years has funded further study and concert fees for young artists.
Whitstable Music Society was able to take advantage of this scheme for their last concert when it hosted the exciting young violinist Emmanuel Bach. He is a graduate from Oxford and The Royal College of Music and is rapidly showing himself to be a bright hope amongst British string players.
His talent, depth of musical perception and knowledge were well in evidence across a wide repertoire. Thus, in Bach’s exposed and challenging unaccompanied Sonata in A minor, BWV 1003, the textural clarity and sense of phrase structure revealed a mind fully aware of early music performing practice. The affecting delicacy of the slow movements were off set by the energy and rhythmic direction of the long fugue and final Allegro movements.
All the wide contrasts of mood and colour in Beethoven’s G major Sonata were clearly pointed. Here, Mr. Bach was more than ably accompanied by Jenny Stern, a pianist of extensive experience at this level. This work is very much a duo of equal partners and the shared understanding of the protagonists was palpable to all.
After the interval the audience was introduced to the Sonata No. 3 by an unknown composer from Russia named Lera Auerbach. This one movement piece had a variety of moods which were expertly dispatched with an obvious sense of involvement.
The more demanding Sonata (1917) by Claude Debussy, in which the composer makes conscious use of the great heritage of French compositions from the 17th and 18th centuries, received a colourful and cogent reading with, once again, a high level of ensemble and shared musical understand from both performers.
A delightful evening closed with Ysaye’s Caprice on a piano etude by Saint-Saens. The Belgian composer Ysaye was one of the foremost violin virtuosos of his time and his violin works, in particular his six unaccompanied sonatas are regarded as the ideal response to those by J.S. Bach. The delightful Caprice focusses on unbridled violin virtuosity and fun, the combination of which Emmanuel Bach cleared revelled, bringing a delightful evening to a rousing conclusion.