This week’s Lunchtime Concert featured Lucy, a Form 6 music scholar, playing two Romances for violin, by Svendsen and Dvořák, accompanied by Anne Bolt on piano. The Chapel’s new configuration, shorn of pews and replaced with socially distanced chairs, offers an intimate setting perfectly suited to these two pieces.
The Romance in G Major, by Johan Svendsen, provided a neat continuity from last week’s concert, which featured a work by his teacher, Carl Reinecke. Before he moved into composing and conducting, Svendsen was a talented violinist, and this piece for solo violin certainly shows it. Lucy handled herself with great aplomb, the three movements offering unique challenges but also an opportunity to express her talent. Introduced by the piano, the first section is slow and melodic, with long, elegant phrases, but moves quickly into the second section, a playful but slightly anxious interlude, before resolving itself in a more restrained but equally evocative final movement. In her programme notes, Lucy mentioned she wanted to produce a warm sound and effortless melody, both of which she certainly achieved.
The second piece was another Romance for violin, Antonín Dvořák’s Romance in F Minor. One of Dvořák’s lesser-known works, it was originally composed as the slow movement for a string quartet in F minor, before he re-scored it as a romance for violin and piano.
Once again, the piano introduces the piece with a flowing melody before the violin introduces the theme which will reappear throughout the piece. Like Svendsen, Dvořák was also a talented string player, starting out as a violinist before making his name as a violist, and this piece requires great skill to execute. There are some tricky moments, particularly as the melody of the violin rises over the top of the arpeggios in the piano, and a lesser player could easily have lost the rhythm, but Lucy and Anne made it feel effortless. The final section allowed Lucy to show off with a series of unaccompanied arpeggios, before the piano returns and the duet finishes with the lovely theme one final time.
Lucy’s recital is available to watch here.