Only superlatives are appropriate when describing the recital Cockermouth Music Society experienced recently. The young cellist Laura van der Heijden is already a remarkable musician, exceptionally mature in her approach and in the execution of the music she plays.
Her recital with pianist Martin Roscoe was a triumph in every way. It featured an interesting programme of varied music, beginning with a spirited rendering of Schubert’s D major Sonatina, written for violin, but working well for cello. This was followed by Chopin’s Cello Sonata Op.68, which was played with breathtaking beauty, exquisite sound from the cellist at all times, with the pianist expertly managing the difficult piano part.
The second half opened with some short pieces from Anton Webern, one set being in late romantic style and the other being atonal. Again Laura triumphed with great renderings of both, playing with superb control of touch and varying the nuances to give us an amazing few minutes of the type of music which most people would expect to find hard to appreciate .
Shostakovitch’s Cello Sonata, his last completed work, really set the seal on an evening of superb performance from both cellist and pianist. This is a valedictory work in the sense that one feels the composer is looking towards an end to life on the human plane, sometimes with foreboding ,sometimes with acceptance, but knowing that he has to face it (we don’t know what he sees-a void, an abyss, choirs of angels?) but we listened to Laura’s wonderful interpretation of the nuances of the music and felt we had learnt something we hadn’t known before.