Romance is in the Air
Theatre by the Lake, Keswick
14 April 2002
"ROMANCE is in the Air" claimed the programme of the Wordsworth Singers, and three Monteverdi madrigals had everyone in agreement from the start.
But there were other delights to follow as prize-winning young violinist Emma Hancock delivered a stunning performance: Ravel's G-Major Sonata, and co-directors Michael Hancock and Charles Harrison dueted at the piano in a couple of Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances, including the haunting E-Minor waltz. They also combined to accompany the choir in Brahms's Love-song Waltzes.
Alistair Hogarth showed pianistic brilliance in partnering Emma in Ravel's Sonata, if not quite her instinct for jazz. Ravel became hooked on Gershwin's music after seeing Funny Face in New York and, given the right performers, as here, it shows. The young duo also excelled in Tzigane.
With Michael Hancock up front and Charles at the piano, the choir sang the Gypsy Songs in style. Being in love with Vienna becomes more difficult as the sequence of love-songs unfolds. The phrasing really needs to take wing - a matter of linguistic and musical fluency. But singers have lives to live and other concerts to deliver and overall there was so much to admire. The crystalline quality of the sopranos topping such a well-blended ensemble in the Monteverdi piece remains an abiding impression.
Quick! We Have But A Second ran the unromantic encore, and the audience took the words literally, bursting in with premature applause. It brought the proceedings down to earth with a bang and good humour all round.