London Sinfionetta – Jack Lyons

Event:   London Sinfionetta

Venue: Jack Lyons

Rating: *****

Soaring sounds filled the Jack Lyons Concert Hall as members of The London Sinfonietta presented a well-balanced and varied programme of contemporary works for flute, harp, viola and piano.

The evening began with a very sensitive performance of Toru Takemitsu’s ‘And Then I Knew T’was Wind’, followed by Emily Hall’s ‘Join’, a work with real impact and immediacy which captivated the audience. Benjamin Britten’s ‘Lachrymae’ for viola and piano concluded the first half and was performed by violist Paul Silverthorne with beauty and grace.

The pianist’s sensitive accompaniment added to the moving performance – the two musicians played very well together, acutely sensitive of each other’s lines. Indeed, the entire evening boasted an excellent sense of ensemble and communication between the players.

The second half opened with a technically assured performance of Olivier Messiaen’s ‘Le Merle Noir’ for flute and piano. Flautist Karen Jones negotiated passages of extreme technical difficulty with ease. Harpist Helen Jones’ performance of Harrison Birtwistle’s ‘Crowd’ skilfully demonstrated the versatility and extraordinary resonances of her instrument, and the evening concluded with a performance of Debussy’s ‘Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp’ – the highlight of the night. The contrasting sonorities of the instruments expressed beauty, sorrow, reflection and hope. The performers received very warm applause, and rightly so: the evening was an inspirational, accessible and exciting showcase of some of the great works of the twentieth-century.