Review: Chloe Hanslip, Violin, Ipswich School Festival, September 24

Chloe Hanslip, violin, Ipswich School Festival, September 24

This was indeed a celebrity violin recital, for Chloe Hanslip has already established herself as a performing and recording artist of real distinction and it was something of a coup for the festival to present her in a lunchtime recital on Saturday with the equally impressive pianist, Ashley Wass.

Their programme began in the most positive manner with Brahms’ extrovert and striking scherzo from the FAE Sonata, a joint composition for the violinist Joseph Joachim by Albert Dietrich, Schumann and Brahms. Hanslip launched into the strongly rhythmic opening at full throttle, followed two bars later by Wass and the performance was quite breathtaking in its vigour and �lan. Of course some credit must go to the composer, his youthful energy and impetuosity in full flow but still needing igniting 150 years on.

A complete change of style and mood took us to the impressionistic effects of Karol Szymanowski and his Three Myths, based on Greek legends. The first, The Fountain of Arethusa contained some striking effects suggesting the spray and flow of water and Ashley Wass was a mesmerising yet controlled master of the keyboard. Chloe Hanslip drew sparkling effects from the violin and the rapport between the two yielded some highly dramatic moments.

Franck’s Violin Sonata has maintained its admired place in the repertoire and this authoritative and affectionate performance was fully equal to the work’s stature. Hanslip’s sweet, even tone was perfectly suited to the gentle first movement but she produced a strong and vibrant sound in the troubled energy of the second movement. Wass was excellent with the demanding piano writing in this movement and everything came through without threatening to overwhelm the violin. The slow movement was noble and eloquent and the optimistic finale rounded off the sonata and the recital with a total sense of enjoyment and satisfaction. First class music with first class performers – what more can one ask?

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Gareth Jones

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