Sara Trickey and Dan Tong

Concert date: 19 September 2014
Reviewed by: JRC

The NADSA concert season began last Friday with an excellent violin and piano recital given by Sara Trickey and Dan Tong.

Schubert's Sonata in G minor [originally titled by him as 'for piano, with violin accompaniment'] gave Dan a delightful opportunity to show off the new NADSA piano. His strong melodic line and sensitive phrasing was mirrored by the violin in the Allegro giusto: the sweet calm of the Andante came as a beautiful contrast. The charming flourish of the finale left us feeling all is well in the world!

The violin trill that opened Beethoven's 10th Sonata led us to expansive soaring melodic lines. The Adagio espressivo that followed certainly lived up to its name. Contrasting, lively and subdued, sections were brought to a crescendo conclusion; and so ended a wonderful, traditional first half.

Following the interval, Sara and Dan played the second movement of Sonata No. 1 by Mathias [probably best known as the composer of 'Let the people praise Thee, O God' written for the Wedding of the Prince of Wales & Lady Diana]. There was here an intriguing mix of delicacy, calm and angst.

Three pieces by Sibelius then came as both a contrast and a surprise. The first of these enigmatic and experimental works, 'Scene de danse', has a strange disjunction of the violin's energy and the piano's rhythmic accompaniment. 'Danse caracteristique' was even more enigmatic. It was only with 'Rondeau romantique' that we had the lushness that I associate with Sibelius: we had, as it were, come home. The folk/dance theme was taken a little further with Bartok's 3 Hungarian Folk Tunes; but it was with Ravel's Tzigane that we took off into gypsy style. Sara Trickey's violin solo introduction took us masterfully well beyond the tones of classical tuning. The piano accompaniment and interludes served to highlight the versatility of the violin. This contrast was probably not intended by Ravel since his original score included instructions for register-changes on the optional luthéal attachment [to the piano]. Ravel orchestrated this work in the same year [1924] as its original performance: thank goodness the original version was scored for piano, or we may never have had this virtuosic performance in Newton Abbot. The Courtenay Centre rang with appreciative applause from the near capacity audience. Before they were allowed to leave, Sara and Dan rewarded us with a Schubert encore: a triumph of a concert!