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S & H Recital Review

Katharine Gowers (violin) & Paul Lewis (piano), Wigmore Hall, 7.30pm, 5th June 2002 (SHJ)


This was an enjoyable recital of musical depth and sincere empathy. Mendelssohn’s Violin Sonata in F was full of pleasing details, if slightly one-dimensional as a whole, and the violin-piano relationship in Schubert’s treacherously simple Violin Sonata (Duo) in A D574 showed a compassionate mutual understanding between the players.

But despite a good body of sound, Katharine Gowers’ tone was often bland and strained, particularly in the higher registers. The lack of variety – combined with insecure intonation and messy articulation – was at odds with Paul Lewis’ absorbing depth of tone; he is indeed a coaxer of the piano, and an intrepid explorer of its many voices.

A shared affinity for the music of Liszt (his Elegie No.1 and, as an encore, his Romance Oubliee) saw some of the most impassioned playing of the evening. Despite further violinistic untidiness, Franck’s Violin Sonata in A was full of effective contrasts, touchingly tender in places, captivatingly powerful in others.

Simon Hewitt Jones

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