Well what a season it turned out to be! Clare Teal and her Trio kicked off the celebrations in irresistible swinging style, with a wonderfully eclectic set list ranging from Cole Porter’s Just One of Those Things to disco classic I Will Survive and Radiohead’s No Surprises! Clare won the audience over instantly with her informal warmth, and we were all left breathless by the virtuosity of her Trio – Jason Rebello (piano), Simon Little (bass) and Sebastiaan de Krom (drums).
The Celebration Concert at Mairlot Hall brought superstar violinist Nicola Benedetti, critically acclaimed Sitkovetsky Trio and world renowned Philharmonia Orchestra together under the baton of Pierre-André Valade. Nicola’s performance of Bruch’s Violin Concerto No.1 was brimming with lyrical beauty and effortless virtuosity, and Charlotte Bray’s specially commissioned Triple Concerto Germinate proved to be a captivating work teeming with intricate textures and echoing with fleeting traces of the Beethoven Triple Concerto by which it was inspired. The evening closed with a joyous performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No.1, showcasing the exquisite ensemble playing of the orchestra.
Wu Qian and Juho Pohjonen’s recital at the Menuhin Hall the following week was simply extraordinary. The sight of two 9-foot concert grand pianos on one modestly sized stage is spectacle enough, but to experience the fleet-fingered virtuosity of these two gifted pianists up close was a very special experience indeed. Pohjonen’s performance of Ravel’s notorious Gaspard de la Nuit was technically astonishing and utterly compelling, and by contrast, the sunny, bluesy exuberance of Gershwin’s An American in Paris for two pianos left us all enchanted! A video of the performance is available here.
Finally, Renaissance Spanish works sung in the tranquil setting of Guildford’s Holy Trinity Church by the acclaimed choir Tenebrae, conducted by Nigel Short. Their singing has been described as ‘devastatingly beautiful’, and this proved to be no exaggeration. The clarity and technical perfection of the ensemble’s sound was exquisite, and their expressive power in these contemplative yet intense sacred works was profoundly moving. An inspirational end to a quite extraordinary series of concerts.
In the meantime, please save the dates for our 2020 programme! – Thurs 7, Fri 8, Thurs 14 and Sat 16 May 2020.
Surrey Hills International Music Festival is a Registered Charity No. 1171264, 2021 season supported by Investec