Gen­uine emo­tion, a cap­ti­vat­ing con­cert


about un­der­stated grace, the per­fect com­ple­ment for the sub­tle tim­bres of the flute, and her han­dling of the French works was im­pec­ca­ble.

Poulenc’s Sonata for Flute and Pi­ano is one of my favourite cham­ber works and ar­guably one of the com­poser’s best, cer­tainly out of the nu­mer­ous sonatas he wrote.

Lee filled the outer move­ments with event, sparkle and colour and he cap­tured Poulenc’s ironic style perfectly.

How­ever, it is in the sump­tu­ous slow move­ment that the heart of the piece re­sides and Lee brought to it a pathos that grew into a strong out­pour­ing – it had mo­ments of gen­uine emo­tion.

As for the rest, Gaubert’s test piece for the Paris con­ser­va­toire, Fan­tasie, acted as a pre­cur­sor to the Poulenc, both shar­ing sim­i­lar tech­ni­cal traits like dou­ble­tongu­ing and rapid flour­ishes ripping across the range of the in­stru­ment, all of which Lee ac­com­plished with con­fi­dence and ac­cu­racy.

Maria Gren­fell’s Four Pooh Sto­ries, of which Lee per­formed num­bers 1 and 3, is a charm­ing home­grown work which Lee rel­ishes – it suits his sense of hu­mour and his nat­u­ral way of chat­ting to his au­di­ence.

As a pro­gram­matic work for solo flute, it needs a de­gree of con­nec­tion and vari­a­tion pro­vided by a per­former who gen­uinely char­ac­terises the mu­sic to tell the story.

This is the sec­ond time I have heard Lee play these pieces and each time he has ab­so­lutely brought the story of Pooh and Piglet to life.

Round­ing it all off, Lee gave us a jazzy, rock-in­flu­enced piece, Zoom Tube, by Bri­tish flautist Ian Clarke.

It’s not as ‘‘out there’’ as Lee would have us be­lieve but the mul­ti­phon­ics, vo­cal noises, sound ef­fects and gen­eral con­tem­po­rary bells and whis­tles all co­a­lesced around a toe-tap­ping rhyth­mic os­ti­nato in a per­for­mance that was un­usual and fun – a great way to round off a thor­oughly cap­ti­vat­ing con­cert.

Matthew Lee (flute), with Me­lanie Lina (pi­ano)

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