CONCERT REVIEW: Jessie Ann Richardson (cello) and Simon Callaghan (piano), South Holland Concerts series, South Holland Centre, Spalding.

Classically-trained cellist and chamber musician Jessie Ann Richardson.
Classically-trained cellist and chamber musician Jessie Ann Richardson.
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Classically-trained cellist Jessie Ann Richardson and pianist Simon Callaghan brought a fitting climax to the 31st season of South Holland Concerts in Spalding.

The annual series brings some of the finest professional musicians to South Holland so that audiences don’t have to travel to concert venues in London and other British cities.

Pianist and Harrow School teacher Simon Richardson.

Pianist and Harrow School teacher Simon Richardson.

Jessie and Simon justified their inclusion in the concert series’ particular hall of fame with an engaging show at the South Holland Centre on Saturday, starting with two sonatas for cello and piano written by Ludwig van Beethoven in the summer of 1815.

The sonatas, described by South Holland Concerts’ programme notes write Peter Case as “a study in dramatic contrasts” were an ideal vehicle for Jessie and Simon to demonstrate their compatibility as musicians, as well as their profound respect for Beethoven’s work.

The next piece was a composition by another, less well-known composer from Germany Max Bruch with his Kol Nidrei for cello and piano, or “All Vows” to an appreciation of Jewish melodies that was banned in his homeland from 1933 until 1945.

Before the interval, Jessie and Simon performed Sonatine by Joseph Phibbs who, like Jessie, studied at London’s Purcell School of Music and whose most famous work is Rivers to the Sea which was recognised at the 2013 British Composer Awards.

Jessie said: “Joseph is a really wonderful composer who has written for the Last Night of the Proms, but Sonatine is one of his only cello works, with quite a surprise cello part.”

The evening concluded with a sonata for cello and piano by Russian composer Sergei Raachmaninov, forever associated with the 1945 British film Brief Encounter, who wrote it after a three-year period battling deep depression.

After the concert, Simon said: “South Holland Centre is a lovely-looking place, with a really nice atmosphere and a great piano.”

Jessie, also part of the Piatti String Quartet that came to Spalding last November, added: “It’s really nice to come back to a place where you have been before and to give the audience a bit of everything because you can then cater for all tastes.

“It’s also nice to play things that people have never heard of before as that gives us a sense of freedom and it’s exciting.

“You are a better player if you play chamber music and you are more able to play with other people which makes things more enjoyable.”

Review by Winston Brown.