Tamsin Waley-Cohen & Gemma Rosefield at The Red Hedgehog

Duo in B flat
Duo for Violin and Cello
Handel, arr. Halvorsen
Harpsichord Suite in G minor – Passacaglia
Duo for Violin and Cello

Tamsin Waley-Cohen (violin) & Gemma Rosefield (cello)

Reviewed by: Kenneth Carter

Reviewed: 13 December, 2009
Venue: The Red Hedgehog, Highgate, London N6

Tamsin Waley-CohenThis recital was outstanding. Furthermore, it comprised works we were unlikely to hear again, live, for quite a long time – nor played anything like so well or with this degree of intensity, style and dedication. Tamsin Waley-Cohen and Gemma Rosefield are still making their names separately. With outstanding panache and vigour, and sensitivity, they played as one. One could have danced to the Beethoven – as indeed did the under 10s who came to this morning concert.

Testing-time began with Ravel’s Duo; here the composer explored tenaciously just about every nook and cranny of the sonic capabilities of the two instruments. As a result, the music sparkled and glittered like some rivulet during sunny weather, with sonorities, texture and explorations. Waley-Cohen’s and Rosefield’s astounding playing showed that they deserved to be let near Ravel’s taut genius more often.

Halvorsen’s arrangement of the Passacaglia from Handel’s Harpischord Suite in G minor was demanding, too, with the players finding just the right ounce of Nordic integrity to do justice to this work. (Halvorsen, married to Grieg’s niece, was esteemed for his demanding, fiercely original orchestration.)

Kodály was a cellist, and his writing for the two stringed instruments shows this: demands are challenging but rooted in a traditional and national (East European) context, though with a modern outlook. The work was given savage beauty, somewhat in despite of itself, through unswerving playing.

An encore by Glière (Berceuse) had a soft, soporific melody with a gentle flowing undertow from the cellist.

  • The Red Hedgehog
  • The Red Hedgehog is situated at 255-257 Archway Road, Highgate, London N6 5BS

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