Last night at Mazzoleni Hall we were entertained by the Royal Conservatory’s Rebanks fellows. The programme was, to say the least, varied and very enjoyable. It began with a movement from Mozart’s Piano Quartet in G minor played by Isobel Howard – violin, Caleb Georges – viola, Joanne Yesol Choi – cello and Sejin Yoon – piano. It was a pleasant, if conventional, start to the evening. There were rather more fireworks in the “Allegro ma non troppo” from Strauss’ Violin Sonata in E flat major. There was some seriously virtuosic playing here from Aaaron Chan – violin and Ben Smith – piano.
And so to the vocal part of the programme. The usually quite dramatic Hannah Crawford gave us two fairly lyrical arias; the Countess’ “Porgi amor” and Liu’s “Signors, ascolta”. They were well done and it was interesting to hear her in a more lyrical vein. By contrast, Jonelle Sills, who I think of as in more of a lyrical vein, gave extremely dramatic, indeed fierce accounts of her two arias; “Or sai chi l’onore” from Don Giovanni and “Stridono lassù” from Pagliacci. Hair raising stuff here. Trevor Chartrand accompanied in both cases.
After the interval we hit new heights of eclecticism. It started conventionally enough with a very virtuosic “Una limosna por el amor de dios” by Agustin Barrios played expertly on guitar by Timothy Beattie (how many fingers does he have??). Less conventionally he was joined by cellist Daniel Hamin Go for Astor Piazzolla’s “Libertango”; another virtuoso piece inspired by, you guessed, the tango.
Go returned with accordionist (the first such to become a Rebanks fellow) Michael Bridge for an impressive arrangement of Fauré’s Élégie for Cello and Orchestra. Bridges then closed out the show with two solo accordion pieces; Granados’ Spanish dance no.5 “Andaluza” and Zampronha’s very complkex and slightly weird Trazo (Stroke). It’s rare (and very welcome) to hear such interesting use of less conventional instruments.
So, an enjoyable evening and a fitting showcase for the programme.
All photo credits Stuart Lowe. I’ve captioned the group photo. The participants in the others should be easily identifiable!