- This event has passed.
Anna le Hair & Arwen Newband
Anna le Hair
Notes on the performers
Anna le Hair gained an honours degree in music at Edinburgh University, and her postgraduate studies were at the Royal College of Music, London. Anna has a busy and varied career as a performer, teacher, accompanist, ABRSM examiner, adjudicator and conductor. Engagements have included recitals, both solo and as chamber musician and accompanist, in many venues in London, including St Martin in the Fields, St Johns Smith Square and the Queen Elizabeth Hall, and around Britain and abroad, including a concert tour to New Zealand in 2014 with the violinist Arwen Newband. Anna has given performances of several piano concertos and has performed at several festivals in Britain and abroad, including Edinburgh and Buxton, where she was nominated for the title of ‘Performer of the Fringe’.
Arwen Newband studied at Auckland University with Mary O’Brien and after winning a scholarship travelled to London where she studied with Emanuel Hurwitz. She has worked with various orchestras and has a busy teaching practice. Amongst concertos she has performed are those by Dvorak, Khachaturian, Bach, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Brahms and Mozart. Most recently she has been focussing on chamber music, notably with the pianist Anna Le Hair, with whom she has given numerous recitals. With cellist Sarah Boxall, they formed the Icknield Trio which has performed at festivals and concerts in several venues in Britain, and the Icknield Ensemble.
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)
Sonata Op, 12 No. 3
- Allegro con spirito
- Adagio con molta espressione
- Rondo: allegro molto
The Violin Sonata No. 3 of Ludwig van Beethoven in E-flat major, the third of his Opus 12 set, was written in 1798 and dedicated to Antonio Salieri. The third sonata features a sense of grandeur, power and majesty found in few other works of Beethoven’s early years. In addition, the piano writing is often of near-heroic proportions, by far the most substantial in the first three sonatas, and scarcely equalled in any of the subsequent sonatas. The violin is far from idle, but much of the piano work might just as well have been channelled into a sonata for solo piano. The second movement constitutes the emotional centre of gravity in this sonata. This is the first adagio we encounter in the traversal of these sonatas, and one of the finest slow movements in early Beethoven. To Abram Loft, it is music of “wonderful, timeless tranquillity … a lovely bouquet, fragrant with gracious melody and luxuriant turns and roulades.” The finale is a rollicking, joyous rondo with a catchy if hardly distinctive main theme. Frequent contrasts of dynamics and register are a constant feature of the movement.
John Ireland (1879 – 1962)
Sonata No. 1 in D minor
- Allegro leggiadro
- Romance: In tempo sostenuto, quasi allegro
- Rondo: Allegro sciolto assai
Ireland was born in England and wrote this sonata in 1909. The ‘Allegro leggiadro’ commences with a murmuring, insistent rhythm on the piano, to which is added a striving, purposeful violin theme whose decorative grace notes are significant in the music’s development. A desolate falling chordal sequence played by both instruments acts as a link to the second group of themes: the main one, sentimental in mood and shaped from a rising arpeggio, is heard first on the piano. The violin takes up the opening piano rhythm, transforming it into a brief jig like melody, and the exposition ends with a climax featuring octave leaps by the violin. These different ideas subsequently create a movement of rapidly shifting moods ending with a coda that leaves the questionings thrown up by the movement more unresolved than answered. Prefaced by a piano introduction that recurs during the movement, the main theme of the ‘Romance’ is a lyrical, expansive violin melody. It has the character of a song without words, simple in nature initially, but becoming harmonically richer at its climax, and it is repeated to splendid effect on the darker hues of the violin’s G string. A lento middle section is created around a mysterious fanfare-like motif, played at first pianissimo, as if heard from afar or through the mists of time. The lento gives way to a con moto passage in which the passionate outpourings of the violin take the movement to its climax. The return of the ‘song’ follows, leading finally to the piano introduction and a tranquil conclusion embodying a brief recollection of the lento fanfare, now in B flat major.
The sense of resolution achieved in the final bars of the ‘Romance’ paves the way for a carefree ‘Rondo’ finale in D major; its rollicking, cheeky tune is simplicity itself and dances effortlessly through the movement set against a variety of imaginative piano textures. In between the appearances of the ‘Rondo’ come contrasting episodes marked by flowing melodies, romantic and triumphant by turn.
Pampeana No. 1, Op. 16
Written shortly after the composer’s sojourn in the United States, Alberto Ginastera’s Pampeana No.1 (1947) for violin and piano returns to the folkloric elements that played such a prominent role in Ginastera’s earlier works.
The provincial influence here is primarily a rhythmic one, characterized by syncopations adorned with unexpectedly brash dissonances and abrasive textures. The work opens with a free introductory passage, the piano providing an airy, arrhythmic accompaniment to the ethereal floating of the violin in its upper register. As the violin descends and ascends through the extremes of its range, melody and harmony become more insistent. A rhapsodic solo for the violin gives way to a lively section in which pizzicati and guitaristic effects in the violin are mimicked by the piano. Ginastera saturates the texture with a freneticism that slips freely between chromaticism, polytonality, and purely percussive tone clusters. A series of dramatic glissandi and frantic ostinati expends the work’s final burst of energy.