Sound Festival: Rohan de Saram and Noriko Kawai, Woodend barn Arts Centre, Banchory
ONE of the highlights of last year's sound Festival was the recital by virtuoso cellist Rohan de Saram at Woodend Barn. He returned there on Friday, this time with Noriko Kawai as pianist. The fervent intensity of his playing was expertly paired with the refinement of Noriko Kawai's technique. In the opening movement of Britten's Sonata in C Op65, their interplay was magical. Even more so was their delicate account of the all-pizzicato second movement. Rohan de Saram's seductive tone in the Elegia led into the cello's joyful burlesque in the Marcia and finally a restless Moto Perpetuo.
All this feverish activity was melted away by Durations II, a 1960 composition by the American Morton Feldman. Here time itself was made to relax into stasis, all accomplished in the most seamless pianissimo.
The Hesperides by Glasgow-born composer James Dillon, receiving its second-only performance, is a joint commission from the Woodend Arts Association and the Ultima Festival, Oslo which hosted the recent premiere. A bold and uncompromising work, it touches the outer limits of the cellist's technique and timbres. The wild virtuosity of the cello playing fascinated me, as did Mariko Kawai with playing that she slotted so tidily into the cello part in what was surely a dizzying transit for both players.
Copyright Alan Cooper - published in The Herald, Glasgow (Newsquest Media Group)