Charming end

PUBLISHED: 15:26 19 February 2009 | UPDATED: 23:04 15 June 2010

The technical accomplishments of today s young products from our colleges of music are quite outstanding. The clarinetist Katie Lockhart, who trained at the Royal Northern and the Royal Academy, is a fine example.

The technical accomplishments of today's young products from our colleges of music are quite outstanding. The clarinetist Katie Lockhart, who trained at the Royal Northern and the Royal Academy, is a fine example. And her partner in Seaton Music's latest concert, pianist Mina Miletic, although born in Belgrade, also completed her musical training at the Royal Academy, and proved to be a formidable performer.

They opened their recital with Schumann's Fantasiestücke, Op73. These three charming pieces, little more than salon pieces, are deceptively easy, but contain many hidden problems for the clarinetist, all of which were surmounted with apparent ease. A move forward of 80 years to 1919, to Stravinsky's Three Pieces for Clarinet Solo brought a leap into another world. Although the three pieces are varied in themselves, from an exploration of the instrument's lower register, to the second improvisatory piece written without barlines, to the fast flowing jazzy nature of the final piece, it is not easy to make this music interesting, and Katie Lockhart didn't quite succeed. Perhaps a greater variation of tone would have helped.

John Ireland's Fantasy Sonata is rather an enigmatic piece. It contains some fine music with interesting harmonies but so often the composer doesn't seem quite to follow through his arguments - perhaps an element of his fantasy! Nevertheless, it was good to have a rarely heard piece in the programme and it was played with a feeling of complete belief in a composer who is unjustly neglected today.

Eugène Bozza's Bucolique proved to be exactly what it set out to be, a 'devilish' test for clarinetists in their examinations at the Paris Conservatoire. It certainly kept the clarinetist on her toes on this occasion.

The final item in the planned programme was Weber's Grand Duo Concertante, a work that is very much a duo, equally testing for both players. It was written to be played by the great clarinetist Heinrich Bärmann, and Weber himself, who was a talented pianist. Nicely phrased, rhythmically secure, it brought some fine playing from both performers.

But that wasn't quite the end, for an encore was called for. And how appropriate was the choice. Katie Lockhart being Scottish and 2009 being the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, it had to be a Scottish song with words by Robbie himself. The choice fell on O, My luve's like a red, red rose in the arrangement, as one of his Four Scottish Impressions, by well known composer and broadcaster Gordon Langford, who happens to be president of Seaton Music and was present in the audience.

It brought the recital to a close in a charming manner.

John Dalton


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Midweek Herald. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Midweek Herald