Brighton Year-Round 2019
The Classical Folk trio – Sylvia Akagi soprano and flute, Andrew Wickens, violin and Peter Golden composer-arranger and guitarist – perform light classical and folk
Classical Folk are a trio – Sylvia Akagi soprano and flute, Andrew Wickens, violin and Peter Golden composer-arranger and guitarist – who perform light classical and folk. They make an enchanting and heartwarming centre to a late October chill.
They began with Boccherini’s famous Minuet with its central trio played meltingly in the instrumental line-up. This wa a highlight followed by two fine arrangements, Howard Ferguson’s arrangement of Lark in the clear air, with its lyric edge and something of Ferguson’s fine-tuned neo-classic late romanticism, and the traditional Italian Santa Lucia, a more bel-canto offering.
Akagi has a lovely dusky soprano voice in the middle range and played flute as well as sang in the Myers/Laine Cavatina (‘He was so beautiful’) from The Deer Hunter, which she sang meltingly. It was one of the highlights.
Wickens played with the Philharmonia for many years, and his violinist’s credentials are thus sovereign. So his effortless traversal of Paganini’s Carnival of Venice accompanied by guitar was a highlight. It’s a combination Paganini himself favoured, the guitar being his second instrument. Wickens has a sweet-toned centring that makes his playing as lyrical as it seems effortless.
Golden as composer came to the fore next in a sadly topical song ‘Refugee’ which Akagi dispatched. It’s affecting, vocally clear too so all the words shine out and Akagi’s expressive clarity is shown to advantage. As it is in Sevilla’s ‘La Golondrina’ which expresses mid sorrow, and Toselli’s ‘Serenata’ which is exposingly high. That’s a song of relinquishment and regret.
The final two contrasted – Saint-Saens’ ‘The Swan’ from Carnival of animals worked well with tis combo, the flute and violin working well with the ostinato pattern of the guitar and some lyrical edge. It’s a fine arrangement as ever by Golden. Golden also arranged the traditional Russian ‘Deep Sorrow’ which is darker-hued in its expressive gloom; but memorable.
This isn’t deeply classical territory. It inevitably draws on sentiments that some eschew. Too bad – it’s a lovely, gently melancholic concert, with moments to touch any soft-grained heart.