Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Classical Xtra at the Cramphorn


Flautist Eimear McGeown was born in Northern Ireland, as was the composer of her first piece, Hamilton Harty's elegiac, energetic “In Ireland”, which finished with a joyful jig.

The talented and versatile musician showed her classical credentials with a Fauré test piece and a favourite Bach Sonata.

But most of this recital was devoted to traditional forms and new music, including the première of a Romance by Jeffery Wilson, butterfly flute darting around above the wind-stirred foliage of the piano accompaniment [Aleksander Szram].

Canadian composer Katherine Hoover evoked the wide open spaces in her Kokopeli, influenced by Native American music, and ending with a dying diminuendo, beautifully controlled. Ian Clarke's Hypnosis was predictably soporific, with a minimalist piano part, while his ingenious Great Train Race was an exhilarating exploration of the instrument. The Sonata by French pianist/composer Mel Bonis was a varied, constantly engaging piece, with a delicate accompaniment.

Eimear's Irish flute featured in the gentle Give Me Your Hand, and some toe-tapping reels, whilst her two whistles [one in D, one in B flat] were used for a couple of slip jigs and Mahoney's Reel.

The audience rightly demanded more from these two charismatic musicians, and we were rewarded with Phil Coulter's sentimental Home Away from Home.

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