Concert needed light relief

PUBLISHED: 10:06 31 January 2008 | UPDATED: 21:29 15 June 2010

The cello is perhaps the most mellifluous of all musical instruments and it was heard to great advantage last week at Seaton Town Hall.

The cello is perhaps the most mellifluous of all musical instruments and it was heard to great advantage last week at Seaton Town Hall.

Oliver Coates, partnered by pianist Jakob Fichert, was playing for Seaton Music in the latest of its current concert series.

Not only as a player has Oliver reached the heights, but also in the academic world, where he attained the highest Bachelor of Music degree at the Royal Academy.

He made his concert debut at the age of 15, playing Haydn's C major Cello Concerto at St John's, Smith Square, with the Chamber Orchestra of London.

Since then he has played as a concerto soloist and as a chamber musician throughout Britain.

Jakob Fichert is a very sought after pianist, both as a soloist and a chamber music player and has given recitals in many countries of Europe.

Their programme consisted of three very important sonatas, the D major, Op 102, No 2 of Beethoven, the F major of Brahms, and the ground breaking Sonata in C major by Benjamin Britten. This did tend to make the programme seem rather heavy, leaving a desire for a little light relief.

This feeling was compounded by the cellist's rather reserved approach to the music. Indeed at times he was in danger of being overshadowd by the piano. Britten's innovative writing in the sonata, written specially for the great Russian cellist Rostropovich, stretched both players to the limit and went some way to adding variety.

The remaining piece in the programme, an arrangement of Fauré's song Après un Rêve, although lovingly played, with great tenderness, again failed to lighten the atmosphere.

The next concert in the series will be on Wednesday, February 13, at 7.30pm, at the Town Hall. Given by the Heath String Quartet and consisting of music by Haydn, Beethoven and Martinu, it will be preceded by a free talk at 6.45 pm.

John Dalton

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