Oda Voltersvik, a Trinity Laban Conservatoire post-graduate from Norway, opened with Rachmaninov’s romantically extravagant Variations on a theme of Corelli. Oda presented the Variations – particularly hard to memorise as they don’t have the continuity of through-composed music – with superb aplomb and a dazzling technique in the more virtuosic movements.
A new commission for duet by Philip Martin won over, with its kaleidoscope of colours and textures, our conservative but generously responsive audience, before three of Dvořák’s popular Slavonic Dances, cornerstones of the duet repertoire.
Giulio Potenza, from Italy, began the second half with Medtner’s Sonata Reminiscenza, unfamiliar but enticing with its lyrical haunting melodies, and a foil to Rachmaninov’s Six Morceaux for duet which should have ended the programme. But a standing ovation earned us the last movement of Poulenc’s witty if acerbic Piano Duet as an encore.
Both players were awestruck at the ambience of the James Wyatt Music Room, and particularly at its acoustic which warmed and enhanced the tone of our fine, if venerable, Bechstein piano. They were generous too, giving a totally different programme to an enthusiastic audience of schoolchildren in the afternoon – a central ingredient of our New Generation Artists menu.
Both concerts brought great credit to Trinity Laban, and the standard of their post-graduate students. Oda and Giulio were not only superb technically, as an ensemble, and in their perceptive approach to the music, but most notably in communicating their refreshingly youthful and infectious enthusiasm.