Sally Stocks

Stocks-Turner Duo Reviews

Pan March 2004

Friday 12 December 2003
Wigmore Hall, London
Sally Stocks, flute; Paul Turner, piano

Sally Stocks studied at the Royal College of Music and has worked in orchestras abroad, most recently in Australia. For this concert, Sally wore a beautiful red dress, matching the interior of the Wigmore Hall perfectly.

The performance of the Berkeley Sonatina, given in the year of the centenary of his birth, illustrated the beauty and sweetness in Sally’s sound, with effective use of air for projection and character – her huge sound was evident from the beginning. However, the positioning of the stand prevented the sound from being fully projected, especially in the quiet passages, and this also restricted Sally’s communication with the audience. That said, once she moved more towards stage right, her dynamism of personality and sound was more prevalent.

Through the course of the concert Sally appeared to become more relaxed, and this released a vitality that permitted greater expression and variety of movement and tone colours.

Reinecke’s Undine Sonata showed expressive use of vibrato in the middle of phrases. The pianist gave a beautiful spoken introduction, well-researched and showing a relaxed and warm personality. The first movement illustrated a consistent tone, loud and full, with immaculate runs, but the stand was again a problem in the second movement, hiding potentially good articulation and projection. The long melodies were beautifully played, with lovely musical touches in the rising passages and at the ends of phrases. Sally’s warm sound in the third movement was well suited to the theme of love; at times this was especially beautiful, and she exhibited a wide range of tone colours. In the final movement, Sally played with a particularly sweet edge to the sound. Here, she stepped out from the stand and the full glory of her playing was heard.

The Poulenc Sonata was expressive and controlled, yet taken at a rousingly fast tempo, which transpired to be effective even in the slow section. Sally appeared more at home in this piece, which brought out her energetic style. The second movement was also taken at quite a pace but sounded lovely, with expressive vibrato, while the energetic last movement showed excellent fingerwork and some elegant turns of phrase.

The Goodall Sonata, which took up the entire second half, has a jazz influence, with flattened notes and colourful chords. This started excellently, with fantastic ensemble between the flute and piano, and much variety. A singing 4/4 theme progressed to an attractive ¾ lyrical ‘birdsong’ section, with an active jazzy bass theme in the piano. Then it was on to a 7/8 section and a high jazz theme, which suited Sally’s open sound at the top of the flute.

The second movement began with a smoky unaccompanied minor theme, with scary undertones. This melted into a swaying ¾ piano theme with the flute singing above. Shades of Martinu in the development section led to a loud, passionate bottom register tune and a Bolero-like section, building constantly towards a climax. This calmed, Puccini-like, to a sumptuous and haunting end.

The third movement was a joyous scherzo, with a passionate reminiscence of the original minor theme. This rose to the very top of the flute, which Sally played freely and with full tone. A further jazzy section led through 7/8 to the sumptuous theme, accented repeated notes and a joyous ending.

The composer was present to take a bow, and Sally finished with a peaceful but passionate encore of the Adagio from the Bach G minor Sonata.

Jane Harris

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