REVIEW: The Funtington Music Group

Bogdan Vacarescu

The Funtington Music Group at the University of Chichester on 8 November welcomed back Bogdan Vacarescu, the internationally acclaimed violinist, accompanied by virtuoso pianist Julian Jacobson.

The concert opened with a polished and accomplished performance of Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No 7, Opus 30, No.2. This was a well-constructed and perfectly balanced delivery of this Beethoven masterpiece and a perfect introduction to the two musicians. The palette of colours they created was varied and polished, and they gave serious energetic shape to the virtuoso ending, underpinned by phenomenal precision.

The concert programme was designed for variety and contrast, and it ranged from a performance of Preludium and Allegro, by Pugnani-Kreisler, a piece that opened like a funeral held amid moodily ringing church bells, but finished on a virtuoso flourish. In complete and utter contrast the musicians then went on to perform the calm and so well-known Ave Maria by Schubert.

The first half ended with a piece by a little known composer Pablo de Sarasate, who himself was at the turn of the 20th Century both of gypsy extraction and a stunning violinist. This composition, Caprice Basque, Opus 24 was in this mould and Bogdan brought just the right amount of vigorous sharp-edged playing that was polished and animated, full of subtle and contrasting moods and speed.

Julian Jacobson had ably accompanied Bogdan in the first half with real innate sensitivity, professional authority, and with alert responsiveness to the mood of the moment. He now played as a piano solo Prokofiev’s “Stalingrad” Sonata No 7 in Bb Opus 83. He successfully introduced in the first movement that feeling of dread and distress to come. The actual finale ended in a crashing, dissonant, but ultimately triumphant conclusion. An admirable tour-de force.

Amongst the final pieces, played by both musicians, was a performance of Julian’s own composition Orang-u-Tango, a piece moving from a languorous beginning to a hurly-burly conclusion. The final musical genres then went from Central European, with Bogdan’s own Romanian heritage to the fore, to lilting 1930s style romantic music, and finally, in their encore, a tribute to Gershwin.

As David Tinsley, Chairman of the Funtington Music Group, said, “What an amazing concert! Two fantastic virtuoso musicians at the top of their game playing diverse and interesting music. This concert was an absolute delight.”

Further details of the Funtington Music Group can be obtained from the Membership Secretary, Mrs Elizabeth Brooks, on 01 243 378900.

Please visit our website at www.funtingtonmusicgroup.org.uk

By Chris Linford

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