23/04/22 MEERA MAHARAJ – FLUTE, DOMINIC DEGAVINO – PIANO

Programme

Sonata No 275 in B flat major – Johann Joachim Quantz
Sonata for Flute and Piano – Mel Bonis
Suite Paysanne Hongroise – Bela Bartok

Lenski’s Aria – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Honami – Wil Offermans
Sonata for Flute and Piano – Sergei Prokofiev

Meera Maharaj is currently a Tunnell Trust, Park Lane Group and Countess of Munster Recital Scheme artist alongside Dominic Degavino.  Her competition successes have included First Prize in the Royal Academy of Music Flute Competition and Dutch International Flute Competition and Third Prize in the British Flute Society Competition.

Dominic studied at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester and at the Guildhall School of Music in London. He has performed in concerts across the UK and beyond and has achieved considerable competition success both as a soloist and a chamber musician.

Review

By Malcolm Cotterill

FLAMBOYANT FLUTE

A combination of youth, talent, exuberance and music rewarded the enthusiastic audience at the Curry Rivel Music concert on 23rd April at St Andrew’s Church.   The first three of those elements were embodied in Meera Maharaj whose flute seemed to be an extension of her body and her soul.   Polished, burnished or brilliant would equally describe her playing.   Her partner, Daniel Degavino, fulfilled his role in the duo with masterful technique and sympathy.

The music came from familiar and unfamiliar sources.   No-one was taken by surprise to be treated to Bartok, Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev but Johann Joachim Quantz, Mel Bonis and Wil Offermans were novelties to most.   Quantz lived from 1697 to 1773 and was a prolific composer but apart from that he was a flautist and flute maker.   He designed his own version of the instrument and wrote a treatise on playing the flute.   Not surprisingly most of his many hundred compositions were primarily for the flute or in which the flute had a prominent role.   We were treated to Sonata No 275.

Mel Bonis – Melanie Helene to her Mum and Dad – lived from 1858 to 1937 and she too wrote more than 300 pieces for piano solo, piano duets, organ, chamber orchestra as well as choral music and a mass.   She also produced the sonata for flute and piano by which we were beguiled through its liveliness, melancholy and melodic charm.   Why she has slipped into obscurity is not clear because she deserves to be better known.

Wil Offermans is a Dutch flautist/composer who was born in 1957.   He seeks to popularise what he describes as “extended flute techniques – sometimes also called new, modern or contemporary techniques”.   His music is, shall we say, different.   His “Honami” combines the Japanese words “Ho” – an ear of corn – and “Nami” – a wave.   He seeks to portray the effect of the wind disturbing a field of rice – “the breath is the corn, the printed music is the medium and the sound of the flute is the consequential result”.

It was an evening of many delights not the least of which was the pleasure of having two brilliant artistes on the threshold of their careers clearly revelling in giving joy to an appreciative audience.