Classical: Kirckman Concert Society Young Artists

Classical: Stephen Pritchard on Kirckman Concert Society Young Artists

Kirckman Concert Society Young Artists
Purcell Room, London SE1

The ink was barely dry on Ben Foskett's Trying to see More before it received its world premiere last week - indeed, it was so new he only thought of the title after the programme had gone to press.

Music this fresh fairly leaps off the page and in the hands of saxophonist John Barker and pianist Timothy Sidford, it achieved astonishing cohesion; rather more than the composer intended, judging from his programme notes. He planned a piece made of two ideas which play off each other, attempting compromise until breaking apart. Barker and Sidford work so seamlessly together that this tension was never really apparent. Instead, we heard an immensely enjoyable piece of intense rhythmic vitality and character.

Oboist Rebecca Kozam played a CPE Bach solo sonata with real commitment, maintaining the lovely shape of the argument, but never quite letting us relax. She was more at home in Schumann's Three Romances , where she was wonderfully supported by the intelligent playing of pianist Catherine Milledge, and they both shone in the lush sensuousness of Richard Rodney Bennett's After Syrinx 1.

John Barker is an astonishingly accomplished saxophonist. Whether on alto or soprano, there appears to be no limit to his technique. He and Timothy Sidford were the stars of the evening, in turn charming and alarming in Nigel Wood's Cries of the Stentor and suave and sophisticated in Roger Boutry's Divertimento.

But the highlight of the evening was Mark-Anthony Turnage's Two Elegies Framing a Shout , where the 'shout' was a furious passage for soprano sax and piano. The loud pedal is left down at the end of this section, allowing the solo sax to reverberate around inside the open lid, producing a lovely, other-worldly effect before the final, infinitely moving elegy for Turnage's drug-addict brother.


Stephen Pritchard

The GuardianTramp

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