Concert review: An evening with the Harp & David Watkins
Enlightening, enchanting and entertaining are just some of the words that come to mind after a most memorable musical evening given by David, who is without a doubt, master craftsman of his art.
David used the music to ‘sculpture’ the long history of the harp with charm and charisma capturing the timbres and characters of each period, thus bringing to life the music for a most tangible experience.
From the early 16th and 17th Century dry, honest tonal qualities of Cabazen, Peerson and Dowland to the 18th Century music of W.Croft and Parry, all of which were performed with the skill and panache required of such demanding and technical pieces.
Our musical journey continued through the 18th and 19th Centuries with, to name but a few, Spohr’s Fantasia in C minor, the ever popular ‘Watching the Wheat by J. Thomas, Godefroid and for the 20th Century, Debussy’s ‘Maid with the Flaxen Hair’, all of which explore the washes of colour and sound therein associated with the Romantic era and the harp as we know it today.
An interlude of orchestral pieces, such as Wagner (a real workout with the pedalling for every harpist!) and the wonderful Tchaikowsky Nutcracker cadenza, familiar to all, was a welcome insight into the world of an orchestral performer and the challenges therein.
For the finale to the evening, David played two movements from his ‘Petite Suite’. The thought provoking ‘Nocturne’ followed by a flourishing finish with the ‘Fire Dance’, a welcome warmer to go home with on a rather grey evening in May!
We had completed our journey through the ages of time. This had been more than a concert. It had been a real and personal insight into the life and music of a talented and working musician who had stories to tell that captivated and enlightened the audience whilst performing with charisma to inspire us all. This, together with the intimate setting of Markenfield Hall made for a very special and memorable evening.
Georgina Wells , May 2016
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