An Enterprising and Very Fine Recital from Răzvan Suma and Rebeca Omordia

20/03/2017

Delius, Ireland, Venables, Matthew-Walker and Enescu: Răzvan Suma (cello), Rebeca Omordia (piano), St James’s Church, Piccadilly, London, 17.3.2017. (AS)

Frederick Delius – Romance
John Ireland – Cello Sonata in G minor
Ian Venables – Elegy, Op. 2
Robert Matthew –Walker – Fast Music, Op. 158 (First performance)
George Enescu – Cello Sonata in F minor – Allegro

It doesn’t seem long since Răzvan Suma and Rebecca Omordia played the Ireland Sonata in a previous lunchtime concert at this same venue, but since then they have played it several times in both the UK and Romania, as part of a tour sponsored by the John Ireland Trust. Omordia first came into contact with the work at a time when she was partnering Julian Lloyd-Webber in recital, and since then this fine pianist (born in Romania of a Romanian mother and a Nigerian father) has not only championed the Cello Sonata, but has become a strong advocate of Ireland’s keyboard works in general. I think the crusty old composer, always complaining about the neglect of his work in his latter years, would be delighted to have such a strong present-day champion.

Since their last performance of the Sonata at St James’s, which was powerful enough, Suma and Omordia’s interpretation has deepened still further. Their realisation of the work’s inner turbulence and despair, which doesn’t really let up at any point, were brought out in such a stark and compelling fashion as to convince one that it is a great masterpiece, which maybe it is. No realisation I have ever heard, live or on record, has ever approached the level of this playing. Not only was the performers’ emotional commitment immensely moving, but their technical mastery (the work poses considerable challenges for both performers) was such as to allow them complete freedom in the matter of expression. No hurdles needed to be approached with the slightest caution.

The recital had commenced with a beautifully poised account of Delius’s lyrical Romance of 1896, a rarity in the concert hall (though come to think of it, Delius’s works are all woefully neglected these days), and afterwards one feared that the Ireland sonata would completely overshadow what followed. But no, Ian Venables’ Elegy, composed in 1980 when the composer was 25 years old, proved to be a pleasantly expressive little piece, if deeply conservative in idiom for its time. Then we heard Robert Matthew-Walker’s Fast Music, here receiving a first performance, which was written at the request of Omordia, who wanted, literally, a fast piece to provide a contrast with the prevailing slow or moderately paced ones that tend to dominate cello and piano recitals. Fast and furious it turned out to be, full of intriguing rhythmic devices that would have caught out less accomplished performers than these.

Enesco’s single-movement Sonata, written in 1898 when the composer was a teenage student and discovered 90 years later, proved to be a thoroughly competent effort, rather charmingly reminiscent of Brahms. In its own way it provided a satisfying conclusion to a very fine recital.

Alan Sanders

Print Friendly

Comments

Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

MW

Facebook-button-1

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! 2018-2019 Geneva Grand Theâtre Season __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 Hallé Season in Manchester __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 CBSO at Symphony Hall, Birmingham __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 BBC NOW in Cardiff and Swansea __________________________________
  • NEW! The Twelfth English Music Festival Coming Soon in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Kenneth MacMillan’s The Sleeping Beauty at the London Coliseum in June __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Opera in 2018/19 __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2018/19 Birmingham Classical Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Kelli O’Hara and Ken Watanabe Star in The King and I at the London Palladium __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2018 BBC Proms __________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera Celebrates its 25th Anniversary with Nicolò Isouard’s Cinderella __________________________________
  • NEW! Pop-Up Opera’s 2018 Mozart Double Bill __________________________________
  • NEW! Zurich Opera in 2018/2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! Let’s Dance International Frontiers (LDIF) 2018 Celebrates its Eighth Year __________________________________
  • NEW! Gloucester Choral Society’s Hubert Parry’s Centenary Celebrations in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Chess at the London Coliseum from 26 April for 5 Weeks __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! Abandoned Liszt Opera Sardanapalo Premieres in Weimar in August __________________________________
  • NEW! THE TENOR RUSSELL THOMAS IN CONVERSATION WITH MARGARIDA MOTA-BULL __________________________________
  • NEW! RAFAL BLECHACZ IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • NEW! The London Orchestra Project’s Metamorphosen on 27 May at LSO St Luke’s __________________________________
  • NEW! MARKUS POSCHNER IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! Chelsea Opera Group Perform Massenet’s Thaïs at the Cadogan Hall on 23 June __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Carly Paoli Sings for Chelsea Pensioners, at Cadogan Hall, and Signs for Sony/ATV __________________________________
  • NEW! A Q&A WITH ITALIAN BARITONE FRANCO VASSALLO __________________________________
  • NEW! A First Charity Classical Music Concert at Finchcocks on 27 May __________________________________
  • NEW! MICHAEL SANDERLING IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • NEW! Trinity Laban Moves to Abolish All-Male Composer Concerts __________________________________
  • NEW! ARABELLA STEINBACHER IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! THE CONDUCTOR LAURENCE EQUILBEY IN CONVERSATION WITH COLIN CLARKE __________________________________
  • Search S&H

    Archives by Week

    Archives by Month