City of London School Evening Recital – Sam Alberman & Johan de Silva

“A selection of songs in Foreign Languages”

Sonata in A for Piano and Violin, Op.47 (Kreutzer) – I: Adagio sostenuto—Presto

Johan de Silva (baritone) & Sam Alberman (violin) with Peter Allwright & Nigel Baglin (piano)

Reviewed by: Colin Anderson

Reviewed: 26 March, 2013
Venue: Great Hall, City of London School, London EC4

Well done to the City of London School for pursuing music education courses that encourage students such as Johan de Silva and Sam Alberman to perform, in this instance, great Art Songs and a movement from one of the finest of violin sonatas.

Both young men introduced their portion of this early-evening recital. Johan de Silva chose a wide range of songs, and did well to perform them in their original languages; thus we had gems from Fauré, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Schumann and Mozart. De Silva sang mellifluously and with feeling, and with a good dynamic range. Pitching was a little off though, if we accept that the piano was well-tempered, and if there is at the moment a need for de Silva to develop his technique and responses, then he impressed with his sincerity of approach and his joy in doing what clearly comes naturally to him. He was sensitively accompanied by Peter Allwright in the first four songs, those by Fauré, Tchaikovsky (None but the lonely heart) and Brahms’s Wiegenlied, and then by Nigel Baglin in more Brahms together with Schumann and Mozart. Messrs Allwright and Baglin are teachers at the School if in disciplines other than music, I believe.

Mr Baglin had the task of essaying the first movement of Beethoven’s ‘Kreutzer’ Sonata, in which the piano part is of equal importance to that of the violin. He did very well, playing with fine musicianship, confidence and with nimble support for Sam Alberman (followers of the LSO will recognise the surname). With the proviso that, once again, there were discrepancies of tuning – so, not the piano – the violinist did very well with one of the great challenges of the repertoire. If the tempos were a little too measured for such fiery music, Alberman played with poise and expressiveness if just a little caution. The exposition repeat was welcome and gave the movement its required epic scale.

This short but rewarding recital was a fine advert for the CLS’s musical endeavours and for the two young men at the centre of this presentation.

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