Ilkley Concert Club’s recital in the King’s Hall on Wednesday coincided with atrocious weather. For those who got to the concert, the outstanding Jack Liebeck (violin) and Simon Crawford-Phillips (piano) gave us a concert to remember. Their empathy with the very attentive audience was a tribute to the rapport between them.
Starting with the sonata by Guillaume Lekeu, a Belgian composer of whom we would surely know more, had he not died of typhoid at the age of only 24. Premiered in 1893 this late romantic music, chromatic and rhapsodic with rich and expressive ideas, was given an ideal performance. Without becoming over-indulgent, the players were able to take advantage of the rich harmonies and opportunities for their instruments for a convincing performance.
In an unusual order for the listener, the Bach duo sonata no 3 came next and the piano was mainly the ‘accompaniment’ to the florid virtuosic writing for the violin. Here Jack Liebeck took full advantage although keeping his dynamics and tone appropriate to a work written over 150 years earlier. Perhaps, at least for this work, the piano lid could well have been on ‘half stick’ bearing in mind its origin for a harpsichord. The playing of both musicians in the brilliant finale was beautifully executed and the audience responded with well merited applause.
Astonishingly it is nearly 50 years since the ‘Kreutzer Sonata’, Beethoven’s most famous duo, was last played at Ilkley Concert Club. The Club had particularly requested that Jack Liebeck include it in the programme. The interplay of the two very equal parts was particularly well integrated, often with great sensitivity and delicacy; Simon Crawford-Phillips now taking proper advantage of the expressive qualities of the Steinway piano. Whilst it is difficult to highlight any part of this magnificent work, the final tarantella with the violin’s dancing triplets will stay a long time in the memory. The audience’s response included not only enthusiastic clapping but also much foot stamping. Once again Ilkley Concert Club’s reputation for superb concerts was clearly in evidence.