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

20/03/2017

United KingdomUnited Kingdom 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

Comments

Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! Beethoven 250 at London’s Southbank Centre __________________________________
  • NEW! Snape Maltings – January to April 2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! Saffron Hall in February – August 2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera in 2020 – Gluck’s Paris and Helen __________________________________
  • NEW! Surrey’s Grange Park Opera in 2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Leeds Lieder Concert Series 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Edinburgh Usher Hall 2019-2020 Orchestral Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2020 Ring Cycles __________________________________
  • NEW! Ex Cathedra’s 50th Anniversary Season in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Geneva Grand Théâtre in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! 2019-20 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden __________________________________
  • NEW! City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Zurich Opera House in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! English National Opera in 2019-2020 and New Artistic Director __________________________________
  • UPDATED! ENB in 2019-2020 and Opening of their New London City Island Home __________________________________
  • NEW! Classical Music and Other Events at the Southbank Centre in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Cleveland Orchestra in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Classical Music at the Barbican in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Free Review Summary Newsletter

    Search S&H

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Ballet’s 70th Anniversary Gala Performances – 17 & 18 January 2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! CONDUCTOR HERVÉ NIQUET INTERVIEWED ABOUT GRÉTRY’S RICHARD, COEUR DE LION __________________________________
  • NEW! SOPRANO ANGELA GHEORGHIU IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL COOKSON __________________________________
  • NOW REVIEWED! MATTHEW BOURNE’S ROMEO AND JULIET IN CINEMAS FROM 22 OCTOBER __________________________________
  • NEW! CELLIST JOHANNES MOSER IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • CHORUS MASTER STEPHEN DOUGHTY IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • REVIEWED! Ron Howard’s Pavarotti in Cinemas 13 July (Preview) and Nationwide (15 July) __________________________________
  • MULTI-FACETED MUSICIAN JOY LISNEY IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • ‘MUSICAL MAGIC’: AN INTERVIEW WITH VIOLINIST HENNING KRAGGERUD __________________________________
  • CONDUCTOR THOMAS SANDERLING IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH ITALIAN BARITONE FRANCO VASSALLO __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH LISETTE OROPESA AS SHE RETURNS TO LA OPERA FOR ORFEO ED EURIDICE __________________________________
  • BARRY DOUGLAS IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • Archives by Week

    Archives by Month