On Wednesday 2nd June, the audience at the lunchtime concert
in St. Wilfrid’s Church, Bognor Regis was treated to an excellent concert given
by Gordon Egerton (clarinet) and Stephen Norris (piano).
The concert opened with ‘Romance’ by Edward German beautifully
played by Gordon. The acoustics of the church were such that clarinettist was
able to make the lovely melody really sing out and from the very first note the
audience was captivated.
This was followed by ‘Premiere Rhapsody’ by Debussy and
although he was a contemporary of Edward German, this piece was in a completely
different style. It was originally written as an examination piece for students
at the Paris Conservatoire and therefore included many passages designed to show
off the player’s technical abilities. In this Gordon was ably accompanied by
Stephen Norris at the piano and the two of them made a very difficult piece of
music appear much easier than it actually was. The piece opened with a short
unaccompanied passage which caught the audience’s attention and held it through
the many virtuoso passages.
Stephen Norris then took centre stage and played the Petrarch
Sonnet No. 47 by Franz Liszt. His talents as a pianist had already become
apparent from his role as accompanist but here he showed just what an excellent
pianist he is in his own right. The contrasts between loud and soft, fast and
slow, simple and complex were all brought to the fore. The music really came to
life as it told the story of unrequited love.
‘A Kitchen Garden Suite’ by Paul Reade followed. Simpler in
style than the Debussy or Liszt it provided the perfect foil to the piece that
followed which was the Sonata for Clarinet and Piano by Francis Poulenc. As with
the Debussy there was plenty of opportunity for the clarinettist to push the
restrictions of the instrument to the limit and here Gordon not only excelled
himself but also, together with Stephen, produced a work of art.
This was a concert where it was clear from the start that both
performers were wedded to the music, supporting and complementing each other as
each piece evolved. Throughout the concert the applause was both appreciative
and enthusiastic and at the end the audience left having enjoyed 50 minutes of
This concert was the second in a series of lunchtime concerts.
The next one will be on Wednesday July 7th and will be given by Richard Bureau
(violin), Elizabeth Angel (cello) and James Kirkpatrick (piano).