Category Archives: Reviews

Review of Dundee lunchtime concert with Audrey Innes on 8th March

I forgot to post the rather nice review that was published in the Dundee Courier after Audrey and I played at Dundee University Chaplaincy on Friday 8th March. Here it is:

Friday’s lunchtime concert in the University chaplaincy promised much, and delivered even more. It was given by the duo of Jessica Wyatt on viola with Audrey Innes at the piano.

Composed in 1849, when technical improvements had made the French horn an instrument with new possibilities, Schumann’s Adagio and Allegro is a delightful work, the second part of which is full of joyous whoops referring back to the horn’s hunting origins. It has often been adapted for other instruments, and, perhaps surprisingly, it seems to suit the viola perfectly. The sound is completely different, perhaps without the effervescence of the horn version, but with a rich sound more akin to later compositions of Brahms.

The performance by the two artists brought out all the extra lyricism encouraged by the use of a stringed instrument and the slower pace.

Paul Hindemith, like many composers, fell out of fashion after his death. Even after half a century performances of his music are rare. The fact that much of it is attractively lyrical told against him when modernism was the fashion. He played a number of instruments to a high standard, and led the Frankfurt Opera Orchestra until war service. But he seems to have had a particular affection for the viola, switching to that instrument when he returned to civilian life after the First World War.

His Viola Sonata, composed in 1919, is a superbly demanding piece, full of seriously testing music for both players, and it received a thoroughly enjoyable performance here.

Stephen Fraser






Round up of best arts-related links I’ve seen lately

These are some arts-related articles/posts/videos that have caught my eye this week:

Tom Service on audience disruption of concerts in his piece ‘Rattled: how to ruin a classical music concert’ (very funny if you’ve ever experienced something like this as a player or audience member)

Michael Tumelty’s very complimentary review of the recent Mahler symphony orchestra concert (I wasn’t playing, sadly!)

REM’s new album ‘Collapse into Now’ is out now- 4* review here:. I haven’t listened to the album yet but I will soon…

-Modern artist Damian Hirst puts his spot painting designs on guitars and drumkit for charity. They’ll be auctioned off at Christies after being played by the band Squeeze on 22nd March. I’m quite tempted to bid for one of the guitars, as those of you who know me know that I love spotty things… I think they’ll be somewhat out of my price range though, doh..

Laura Barton (a guardian musician journalist) interviews Colin Meloy about The King Is Dead, country retreats and writing a children’s book

And finally… If you’ve ever wondered what the song ‘I Will Survive’ would sound like played with an electric dremel (I think that’s what it is!) on an old (probably priceless) Italian violin by a crazy Russian in shorts, check out these guys – absolutely mental… Here’s the youtube clip that fascinated me in the first place 😀