REVIEW: Funtington Music Group. Thomas Gould (violin) & Robert Thompson (piano), at Chapel of The Ascension, University of Chichester.

Having been eagerly introduced by Chairman, David Tinsley, the outlook and attitude of all those present at Funtington Music Group’s latest recital – to be eagerly provided by a well-known violinist and highly popular pianist – was instantly enhanced when the violinist, Thomas Gould, spoke entertainingly about their oncoming programme.

Both he and his fellow piano-soloist, Robert Thompson, immediately commenced their performance with the intensely melodious 6th Sonata, for violin and piano, by the legendary German composer, Beethoven. Both combined perfectly with each other, instantaneously demonstrating the fascinating variety of Beethoven’s musical expression – and genius.

Next to come was more modern music by the Czech composer, Leos Janacek, who was already 47 when the 20th Century began. His 1914 Violin Sonata instantly commenced with Thomas Gould’s dominant violin-playing – balanced by intense piano – which then moved on to an extremely lively series of musical scenes – occasionally involving loud piano (with splendid pianist, Elizabeth Brooks, eagerly turning his pages) and passionate violin-plucking. Both combined flawlessly, particularly when the pianist was constantly checking his colleague’s stance during the violin-playing, which was enthusiastically expressing “machine-gun fire”, just before the Interval!

They then combined flawlessly once more, as they made an impressive start to the second half, with mesmerizing music by the French composer, Faure. During his Sonate No. 2, both players eagerly expressed its essential link between romantic and modern music, particularly during the intense melody and rhythm of all three movements.

Their highly talented performance then concluded with an incredibly eerie and stylish Meditation from Thais, an Opera which had been composed, at the end of the 19th Century, by the highly religious French composer, Massenet.

Having eagerly conveyed this beautiful, eerie, sound right up into the high, ethereal, atmosphere of the Chapel of the Ascension, both soloists were thanked and praised by David Tinsley, which was then quite naturally followed by distinct, wholehearted, applause from all those present – to which both Thomas Gould and Robert Thompson responded eagerly.

John Wheatley.