Review: Music for all Tastes, St Mary’s Church, Shotley, August 31st

This concert was organised by the Shotley Heritage Committee with the two-fold aim of providing wide-ranging entertainment alongside fundraising for the upkeep and repair of the church. The evening was built around the voice, clarinet and percussion, accompanied by a keyboard, played with considerable dexterity and versatility by Roy Everett.

The concert opened with the second and third movements from Franz Krommer’s Clarinet Concertino in E flat. It is an attractive and engaging work and Clem Cocker captured its spirit effectively with some good runs in the finale.

Sam Girling then gave an arresting performance on the Djembe, drawing a wide range of timbres and creating considerable tension from an ostensibly simple source.

Over the complete evening, soprano Vita Lukoseviciute sang arias by Rimsky Korsakov, Mozart, Puccini and Lehar. She has a voice of striking clarity and strength that easily filled the church and brought the songs to life, although the performances would have been enhanced by a greater dynamic range. She sang two folk songs from her native Lithuania with considerable fervour and vitality and certainly has the potential to perform successfully at a higher level.

Clem and Roy gave a touching performance of Strawberry Fair, perfectly capturing folk-song character with their restrained, sensitive playing.

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Clem was joined by one of his students, Amy Gorham, in a duet by Anton Stadler (for whom Mozart wrote his clarinet concerto). There was some good playing but not quite sufficient confidence and elan for the piece to fully succeed.

Sam’s performance of Gordon Stout’s Mexican Dance on the Marimba had visual as well as aural interest and he showed what a talented percussionist he is with four sticks and only two hands.

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The evening was rounded off by all performers engaging the audience in a Scottish reel.

This was the first concert organised by the committee and its quality and warm reception will surely encourage further events.

Gareth Jones

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