Watkins "effortless mastery ... totally spellbinding"
"Exceptional and deeply moving" When two distinguished musicians get together, the results are always powerful and fascinating.
The music played ranges from classical to folk song arrangements, with Massenet's lovely "Meditation from Thais" being a great favourite.
Michael and David talk about the music in a
relaxed and engaging way, prompting one critic to headline his review
with: "Just how it should be done"
In Mozart's time, domestic music-making became so fashionable that publishers demanded music that could easily be played by members of the same family.
Early keyboard and harp sonatas often had violin parts that were of secondary importance. Accompaniment or even "Ad libitum" would be found in the title page. Mozart's second set of violin sonatas (written in the Netherlands) had accompaniments that could be played on the keyboard or harp; (the Paris edition) and in the late violin sonatas, show a progression towards independent violin parts where the harp or keyboard has an accompanying rôle.
Louis Spohr, great violinist and composer, wrote many works for the two instruments having been inspired by the virtuoso performances of his wife, Dorette. These important Duos and Concertantes became the models for subsequent composers. Even Saint-Saëns wrote a powerful duo that explores the techniques and sonorities of both instruments. With the violinist's links to much folk music and the harpist's accompanying rôle, there is a large repertoire for both instruments and in the "popular" classical field, nothing is more moving than the violin and harp in Massenet's Meditation from Thaïs.
Brought up in Turkey and England, Michael Bochmann has been well known in British musical life for several decades. He has performed in the USA, all over Europe and in India. As a student he was a prize-winner in the 1972 Carl Flesch International Violin Competition and the Jacques Thibaud Competition in Paris. He studied with Frederick Grinke in London and also received lessons from Sándor Végh and Henryk Szeryng. At 19, he made his first solo broadcasts for the BBC.
He formed the Bochmann Quartet in 1977 with which he made over 50 broadcasts and TV appearances within in the first 10 years. The quartet has recorded on Pickwick, Redcliffe, Disc D'Or, Metier, Naxos and Chandos labels. In February 1990 he partnered Sir Yehudi Menuhin in the Bach Double Violin Concerto on a 16-concert tour of the USA and Canada.
He frequently directs the English String Orchestra and has performed as soloist with them many times in the UK and abroad. His recording with ESO of The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams has been broadcast many times on Radio 3 and Classic FM.
He visits Germany regularly to perform and teach and for the last ten years has directed the Klanglust Kammerorchester in Fürth.
In the present period he is also performing and teaching in Mexico, South Africa, Spain, France, Portugal, Italy and Serbia.
From recent reviews:
Elegance, energy and so much talent ... this enchanting duo ... communicated their obvious delight to the packed audience ... just how it should be done ... perfect empathy and ensemble ... great variety ... exceptional and deeply moving.
"endless flow of golden melody" - Telegraph
Just how it should be done