Second Raters with Talent

If Prokofiev and Shostakovitch have remained interesting second-raters, it is not through lack of talent. The blame rests firmly with a regime which has insisted on full-time allegiance to its approved philosophies and which as disallowed the personal vision as heretical and subversive.

Robert Sibson and Hugh Fenn gave a lucid performance of three movements of Prokofiev’s second Sonata for Flute and Piano at the Rhodesian Academy’s lunch-hour concert yesterday.


It sounds a well-constructed work, unpretentious but sufficiently characteristic of the composer to expose quite sharply the dilemma of a craftsman forced to hold his melodic fecundity in smart disdain to avoid the fatal official charge of decadence.

In the end it moves the listener more for what it might have been, than for the unconsummated lyricism it does achieve.

Faure’s Fantasie, which opened the recital, was seemingly conceived as a mood study and something of a showpiece for the flautist. Even Mr. Sibson’s reliable – if occasionally short-breathed – performance, though, could not persuade me that it signified very much musically.

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