Sonata was in wrong sequence

The practice of planning concert programmes in chronological sequence of works is firmly established, but perhaps there are occasions when the traditions should be relinquished.

It was unfortunate, I felt, that Handel’s Sonata (No. 6) for flute and keyboard should have come at the start – rather than at the end – of yesterday’s entertaining lunch-hour recital in Bulawayo by Robert Sibson (flute) and David Lourie (pianoforte) in the monthly series of the Rhodesian Academy of Music.

Mr. Sibson did not yet sound at ease and fully warmed up, so that some of Handel’s generous phrases had the same momentary breathlessness of someone who has had to run to answer the telephone. This was particularly noticeable in the fearsome apreggio runs in the third movement.

In fact the historical order was not slavishly followed, for Mr. Sibson followed with the most contemporary work on the programme – three attractive neo-classical movements from a Divertimenta for the unaccompanied flute by William Alwyn.

Full in tone, amply breathed and expansive, Le Petit Berger by Debussy and the Flute Player by Frederic Curzon showed Mr. Sibson at his relaxed best. I wished there had been time then to ask for a repeat of the Handel.

David Lourie is an imperturbably excellent accompanist.

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