Four Hands - One Piano

November 18, 2022

Friday we met for a pianistic treat by not one, but two, superb exponents of the piano. Lynn Arnold and Charles Matthews have both performed for us on previous occasions but not together so we were all expecting a really exciting evening of music from “Two Hands”. They certainly did not disappoint.

Lynn studied at Cambridge University where she held a celebrated Instrumental Award, followed by further study at the Royal Academy of Music where she won various competitions including the prestigious Sir Henry Richardson Award from the Musicians Benevolent Fund. Lynn is on the staff of the Royal Academy of Music Junior Department and is a member of the ABRSM grade examining panel.

Charles studied at the Royal College of Music in London and was an organ scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge. He has won numerous awards including the first prize in the Franz Liszt Interpretation Competition in Budapest. Charles is organist of St. Catharine’s Church, Chipping Campden and also enjoys working with young people at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire as piano accompanist and organ tutor. He recently became Musical Director of the Chipping Campden Festival Chorus and is the Patron of Shipston Music Society.

The first half of the programme celebrated the 150 years since the birth of Ralph Vaughan Williams and began with the Minuet from his “Suite for Four Hands on one piano” followed by an arrangement by Archibald Jacob of the “London Symphony”. This work, portraying the sights and sounds as the morning mists rise and the city gradually comes to life, is a challenge but Lynn and Charles had no problem conveying the serenity of the scene.

After the interval we heard a very lively performance of Schubert’s Rondo in A major followed by the Allegro, Barcarolle, and Moto Perpetuo from Suite No.2 Op 71 by York Bowen. He was a well-known pianist and composer, born in London in 1884, with a prolific output of orchestral and instrumental music. After the First World War however, his popularity began to fade and he died in November 1961.

To bring the evening to a close Lynn and Charles chose music by Dvorak – a Czech composer of Romantic music. The idioms of the folk music of Moravia and his native Bohemia can be heard in Slavonic Dance Op 46 “Tempo di Minuetto, “Silent Woods” Op68 No5 and Slavonic Dance Op46 “Presto”. As with every piece performed earlier, the playing of Lynn and Charles was superb; their phrasing and interpretation brought the music alive, the clarity of the very fast sections was breath-taking and their synchronisation was “out of this world”. What a wonderful evening.

In December there is the Christmas Lunch after which we meet again on 17th February 2023 at 7.30pm to meet the Blockley Blokes. We do hope to see you there (with lots of friends!) for what promises to be a very entertaining evening.

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