miércoles, 15 de febrero de 2012

Joachin Palomares and Bruno Canino playing Brahms, Grieg and Franck

The joy of music is that it is new every time it is played. There is no such thing as a definitive version of anything. A composer indicates intention, but, whatever the piece, the music only comes to life when it is interpreted. A programme of Romantic violin sonatas by Brahms, Grieg and Franck might, to the uninitiated, appear to be potentially run-of-the-mill. But such an assumption would ignore the potential interpretive contribution of two superb musicians, Joaquín Palomares and Bruno Canino.

The duo performed on 11 February 2012 in the first concert of La Nucia’s Spring Festival in the town’s beautiful Auditori de la Mediterrània. They have played together many times and their perfect understanding was in evidence from the very first notes of the Brahms second sonata. Joaquín Palomares’s violin playing was, as usual for him, supremely lyrical and was able to communicate the long melodic lines of Brahms’s style. And Bruno Canino’s piano playing throughout went way beyond the role mere accompanist. The almost tangible communication between the two players gave both shape and meaning to the music’s narrative.

Less familiar to most in the audience was Grieg’s third sonata, considered the best of the composer’s three works in the form. Palomares and Canino blended the elements of folk song, dance rhythms and northern toughness into a truly impassioned performance of a beautiful work. The contrasts were strong whilst at the same time the performers retained a wonderful balance that made perfect musical sense. Palomares and Canino together led their audience through the tableaux of the work’s scenes, endowing the whole with shape and thus accessibility.

Their final piece, the Franck sonata, is nothing less than a masterpiece. In the hands of Palomares and Canino, the piece played out almost like a novel, sounding like a mixture of confession and personal experience related with some pain but delivered with resolve. The catharsis of the final movement was striking, the virtuosity of the duo’s playing quite breathtaking.

The audience demanded and received no less than three encores and were treated to performances of the Brahms Scherzo, Tchaikovsky’s tender Melody and the haunting favourite, the Meditation of Thais by Massenet.

Joaquín Palomares and Bruno Canino offered their combined virtuosity to create a superb concert of mainly well-known music. But the quality of their playing was such that the experience became special, even for a listener who came to the concert familiar with the music. It was great music faultlessly played and beautifully interpreted.

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