Monday, April 20, 2015



Florentine Arts Ensemble at the National Gallery


Monet's Water Lilies, in this case from 1916, almost fills the far wall. There's no horizon, no shoreline. Our view is somewhat obscured by a grand piano, but our appreciation is greatly enhanced by this imaginative chamber recital by two members of the Florentine Arts Ensemble.
The last work, late Debussy the Sonata in G minor, seems particularly apposite in these surroundings, but there were less obvious pleasures in the hour-long programme, introduced by Jo Rhymer from the National Gallery. One of Szymanowsky's Myths [1915] , depicting a dreamlike, watery world with veiled tonalities and shimmering sunlight. Or the late Romantic Catoire's Poeme, packed with lush harmonies and long sweeping melodies. And earlier Debussy for piano solo, Reflets dans l'eau, an enchanting attempt to depict the fall of light in musical terms.

All beautifully interpreted by Liv-Marie Kodurand on violin and Jan Rautio at the piano. Salon music uniquely enjoyable in this setting, which although apposite and atmospheric is by no means ideal acoustically, the policy seemingly opposed to closing the doors leading to busy galleries on either side.

This event was part of the programme inspired by Inventing Impressionism, a fascinating exhibition about the collector and dealer Paul Durand-Ruel.

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