REVIEW: The Steinberg Duo, Funtington Music Group, Chichester

Funtington Music Group welcomed the Steinberg Duo, husband and wife team Louisa Stonehill (violin) and Nicholas Burns (piano) to the University of Chichester.

A substantial audience struggled through the now commonplace heavy rain to be rewarded with a programme of Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff followed, after the interval, by Glazunov and Rubinstein.

Louisa and Nicholas, now an internationally acclaimed Duo, treated their audience to a ravishing performance of the Prokoviev Sonata No. 2 in D major. This steely, ominous piece, written initially for flute and piano, was introduced by Nicholas with a quite delightful touch of humour as befits one with the credentials of an established educator. The Duo use their Greenwich chamber music studio as a space for chamber concerts both for their local residents and local schools in addition to using it for teaching.

The Prokofiev was followed by an early work by Rachmaninoff, ‘Two Pieces’, a quite charming composition that finished with a boisterous Hungarian dance. It was played with warmth and originality, demonstrating the rich sound of Louisa’s violin, a 2010 instrument by Glen Collins based on the Lord Wilton Guarneri del Jesu violin, previously owned by the late Yehudi Menuhin.

In the interval, as always at the Funtington Music Group concerts, a glass of wine was served, this evening complimentary, to encourage members of the audience to make a donation to the Musical Instrument Library Fund, established by the Group to support the University’s Music Department by purchasing specialist instruments for their students. The current project is to raise money for a Cor Anglais.

Following the interval and appropriately refreshed, the audience was treated to Glazunov’s Meditation Opus 32, a profound work that reinforced Gramophone magazine’s view of the Steinberg Duo as passionately committed advocates for their music. A stunningly virtuosic piece by Artur Rubinstein followed, a fitting end to an evening of music making, enhanced by the clarity of presentation of four very varied and charming pieces.

Further details of the Funtington Music Group can be obtained from the Membership Secretary, Elizabeth Brooks on 01243 378900

Jeremy Shaw