Finesse and fluency from Grace and Ryan

The first of the student lunchtime series was hosted by Ryan on piano and Grace on alto saxophone, accompanied by Bethany.

Ryan demonstrated fluency beyond his age with his performance of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in F Minor (op. 2, no.1 (mvt. 1)) and remained calm and composed throughout. The piece has a large range of dynamics, and Ryan didn’t shy away from these showing strong control over the instrument and the piece. In a change of style, Ryan also demonstrated a strong musical instinct in Bartok’s Suite (op. 14, mvt. 4) and showed a deep understanding of Bartok’s complex harmonies. He kept the piece in a smooth consistency despite the metre changes and ended on a chord which was allowed to ring out almost until it had faded.

Grace showed the audience that the saxophone can be used for a lot more than just strict jazz with her performance of Bozza’s Aria. The gentle, Latin-esque piece reverberated beautifully around the church, and Bethany’s accompanying showed great musicality in supporting but never taking the foreground. Like Ryan, Grace changed style for her second piece playing James Rae’s Toccata Latino: a furiously fast but harmonically beautiful piece in 5/4. Both performer and accompanist alike showed their skill here, with the piece relentlessly moving forwards but both of them managing it as professionals. The more playful section with the saxophone mimicking the piano was especially enjoyable, as was the surprisingly soft and quick ending to the piece.

Next week the lunchtime series will be hosted by Alina on the 'cello.

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