Trio of rising stars leave Gateway audience enthralled

Jeneba and Sheku Kanneh-Mason with pupils from Seaton Primary School

Jeneba and Sheku Kanneh-Mason with pupils from Seaton Primary School - Credit: Iain McDonald

The Gateway in Seaton was full to capacity when SeatonMusic welcomed three of this country’s rising stars in classical music.  

The three Kanneh-Mason siblings, 24-year-old international violinist Braimah, 2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year, 22-year-old Sheku (cello), and Proms soloist 19-year-old Jeneba, thrilled members of the club and visitors with their programme of music by a brilliant young prodigy from the past – Felix Mendelssohn. 

Jeneba opened the concert with Mendelssohn‘s Rondo capriccioso op. 14, a familiar, and technically demanding piece written when the composer was 15 years old. Jeneba’s sensitive phrasing and dynamics together with virtuosic technical skill made this a sparkling opener.  

In the following two pieces she accompanied brother Braimah in his beautiful rendering of one of the Songs without Words (op. 19b no. 1) , and what is perhaps his best-known melody On Wings  of Song (op.34 no. 2). Romantic without being sentimental, the balance of the two was exquisite. 

Sheku played two more Songs without Words (op. 62 no. 1 – May Breezes, and Op. 109, the only song Mendelssohn wrote for cello and piano). The instrument sang beautifully in its full range of pitch and dynamics from resonant bass to high pianissimo A.  

The piano trio no. 1 brought all three players together in a work which Mendelssohn‘s contemporaries described as an exceedingly fine composition. The contrasts in the four movements – exuberant passages requiring virtuosic fingerwork, moving lyrical melody, intensely reflective moments made this an unforgettable performance. 

It was not only the audience in the evening who enjoyed the music. Pupils from Seaton Primary School were thrilled to be present when the three were rehearsing, and to have the chance to talk to them about their music-making. They had plenty of questions for the trio and it was a great opportunity for the pupils to meet players with an international reputation. 

Seaton and The Gateway can be proud to be hosting events of this quality. SeatonMusic’s next concert will be on Thursday 9th December when Cristian Sandrin will present an all-Beethoven programme. Details on the website 

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