Aberdeen Cycle Concert 1 – Wonderfully fresh and fluent playing by Daniel Tong and beautiful singing expression from Krysia Osostowicz.

ABERDEEN PERFORMING ARTS  2015, BEETHOVEN PLUS, 1  MUSIC HALL, ABERDEEN
Wednesday, 04 November 2015  

Contemporary music nowadays covers a wider range of compositional styles than ever before, and this year’s Sound Festival has certainly stepped up to the mark in this respect. In the Music Hall we heard the first in a series of five concerts given by Krysia Osostowicz and Daniel Tong, who will play all ten of Beethoven’s sonatas for violin and piano, each performed along with a new companion piece by a succession of living composers.

Audience members who might have had doubts about new music need not have worried. In this concert, the new pieces by Jonathan Dove (b.1959) and Huw Watkins (b.1976) were immediately attractive and easily digestible. Jonathan Dove’s Ludwig Games, a companion to Beethoven’s first violin sonata, is inspired by the sizzling fanfare which opens Beethoven’s Allegro con Brio: this music was fresh and lively, making a great start to the series. The Beethoven followed on perfectly from Dove’s introduction, with wonderfully fresh and fluent playing by Daniel Tong and beautiful singing expression from Krysia Osostowicz.

Beethoven’s “Spring” Sonata is one of his most popular works, known for its relaxed lyricism. Huw Watkins’ response, also titled Spring, takes the form of a radiant, wide-spanning violin melody accompanied by delicate passagework on the piano. Beethoven’s sonata was nicely delivered by the duo, including a lovely account of the opening theme, a warm sense of nostalgia in the slow movement, and a splendidly lively and witty Scherzo.