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Autumn Season at Blackheath

CPE Bach, Reinecke, Poulenc etc

" - - Anne Allen does not seem to have any technical problems that stand in the way of her natural, flowing style..." Wissam Boustany, International Solo Flautist.

To launch Tom Butler's 2012/2013 season of Classical Fundraiser Recitals he curated one of the most satisfying recitals I have attended in Blackheath over many long years. It was far the better for being given in the Great Hall which, properly arranged, has excellent acoustics for smaller scale music.

Flute recitals are rare; two that come to mind have both been by Wissam Boustany, whose perceptive appreciation above heads my review of Anne Allen.

This was ideal programming for Blackheath's weekday concert-goers. The Vivaldi slow movement is a delicous gem, and sounded great on piccolo. Both artists introduced the items in turn, helping to create easy rapport with the audience. .

Anne explained away easily the myth that Mozart hated the flute by describing the too heavy commission from an amateur and by her loving account of one of the slow movements. For this, as with the CPE Bach sonata, Charles Matthews, commendably sparing of the pedal, proved Anne's ideal partner.

Reinicke's lush Ballade was the concert's romantic centre, and helped to promote sales before leaving of Anne Allen's duo CD, which includes his large hyper-emotional Undine sonata and a welcome reminder that Czerny was far more than the creator of Studies to torture student pianists [DUOLOGUE, 72 mins].

To end, one of the pinnacles of the flute repertoire; one can never tire of Poulenc's sonata. For encore after this full programme there was a pleasing short piece by the pianist composed for Anne.

I was pleased to note that the concert was being videoed. There were no noticeable blemishes that would need "patching", and with the right marketing this ought to become a commercially viable DVD, with many items to establish Anne Allen's presence on YouTube?

Blackheath Halls is easily reached in South East London, and from the centre is conveniently right by Blackheath Station from Charing Cross and London Bridge.

Come and try next Monday or the one after that?

Peter Grahame Woolf

PS. Charles Matthews has a wonderful CD of Francis Routh's Well-Tempered Pianist - 24 Preludes which will delight everyone who enjoys Bach's 48 and, say, Shostakovich's 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87 [Redcliffe Recordings RR 021]

Rebeca Omordia's recital was interesting. Her lengthy Ireland selection played straight through (the J I Trust had sponsored her) was too "samey" to my taste, with formulaic virtuoso sweeps acoss the keyboard accompanying the tunes, and some of us got confused by the double listings in the programme - there were three Decorations - and they would have benefitted from spoken introductions by the artist, as Ireland's piano music had become a rare recital presence.

Her Chopin Scherzo was accomplished and Islamey was notable for her subtleties of voicing with a certain intimacy suitable for a small audience around the piano instead of the more usual high-powered barnstorming.

The acoustics in the Great Hall are far better than upstairs (closed to install a lift). Rebeca launched straight into a small encore on returning to the platform and then was gone; she should give some thought to her platform presentation.