"...showcasing both intrinsic virtuosity and innate musicianship"

Concert Date: 21 June 2014

Performers: Santiago Cañón Valencia and Katherine Austin

Reviewer: Andrew Buchanan-Smart

The concert by Santiago Valencia and Katherine Austin featured many of the major sonatas for cello and piano of the 20th Prokofiev’s C major sonata Op.19, opening was distinctly dark chocolate with warm hues where the lyrical elements were captured allowing a spacious  unhurried quality, the ebb and flow between cello and piano portrayed a poignancy intermingling with humour to pervade. The tonal palette was wide and the overall architecture and balance of the piece was finely judged. An energetic finale, with a sensitive singing tone was well balanced in a work full of drama and the powerful climax was jubilant.

In Shostakovich’s D minor sonata Op.40 Valencia and Austin captured the electrifying rhythms with vitality and magnetic pulsating precision. In the largo, muted colours and tones allowed an expressive melancholy and introspective  mood to surface. Shostakovich’s humour, the irony and the sardonic irreverence was never far away and was portrayed with panache. 

The cameo Tchaikovsky Pezzo Capriccioso was a gem full of warm rich legato playing which emphasised the lyrical nature of the work.

With Schnittke’s 1978 sonata the presto movement captured the frenetic, fast and furious and was the counter-weight to the poignant reflective finale in which  Valencia produced a sumptuous tone. 

With the main course served it was time for a lighter diet and servings of Rachmaninov’s Vocalise Op.34 No.14, Rostropovich’s Humoresque Op.5 and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee, all proved worthy of inclusion for  heir beauty or dazzling showmanship. The perfect encore, The Swan appeared like a well-timed sorbet to cleanse the palette. The programme would make for a well-balanced CD, showcasing both intrinsic virtuosity and innate musicianship. 

The convivial surroundings and light supper all added to the enjoyment of the evening.