Colour and technique dazzle in Ardrishaig

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The second concert in Mid Argyll Arts Association’s winter series was held on Saturday October 26.

The good-sized audience in Ardrishaig Public Hall was very privileged to hear some outstanding chamber music played by two internationally acclaimed artists – the Spanish clarinetist Maximiliano Martin and his Scottish-based accompanist, Scott Mitchell.

More often than not recitals with this instrumental combination include some of the big classics of the 19th century, but Maximiliano decided to give us a finely balanced and diverse program of lesser known works from the late 19th and 20th century, all by French composers, who had a special gift and affection for writing small scale works for both wind and string instruments.

The first half of their programme started with an introduction and Rondo by the great organist Widor and the Rondo gave Maximiliano a great opportunity to dazzle us with his amazing technique. This was followed by Debussy’s Premiere Rhapsodie which was written as a test piece for a competition at the Paris Conservatoire; this requires of the performer the full range of colour and technique which was deftly delivered. Finally we were given Poulenc’s last Sonata. In this, and many of his works, he was rebelling against the Impressionist style and was particularly reflected in the outer fast movements with often angular and zany writing.

The second half of the programme started with the Saints-Saens’s Sonata – also his last work. Unlike Poulenc, here he was harping back to the 19th century’s more classical style style of composition.

Their official programme ended with a highly-virtuosic rendition of Chausson’s Andante and Allegro, but we were also given a short and charming encore – one of Gerald Finzi’s three pieces for clarinet and piano.

This was all chamber music of the highest quality; Maximiliano’s musicality, technique, emotional expression and tonal range were exemplary as indeed were those of his accompanist, Scott. It was patently obvious from their opening bars that they had played many times together with the rapport between them a delight to witness. Music if this calibre is by no means ‘everyday’ and we are indeed very fortunate to be able to hear such fine artists playing live in deepest Argyll.

Philip Bowden-Smith


Scott Mitchell and Maximiliano Martin impressed in Ardrishaig. no_a44Concert01