The Royal Overseas League on Princes Street is well-known for showcasing up-and-coming musical talent. It was surprising, then, to discover Lawrence Dunn, the violinist for this concert, to be far from young and in possession of a tremendous white beard.
This turned out to be something of a highlight. From the first movement of Sonata no. 6 which opened the concert, it was immediately clear that the acoustic in the conference venue was unforgiving and vibrancy-sapping. This was bad for Dunn, whose sound was a little inconsistent: at times very rich, at others strained. The slow movement of the A major sonata was more settled but still not under total control.
The more flamboyant Sonata no. 7 suited Dunn better but he was never quite in control of the trickier passages and as such had a tendency to withdraw from the passion that the music demands, while his pizzicato was snatched and unconvincing. The acoustic continued to play its part but there was an uncertainty to Dunn’s performance which meant that the music was played mechanically and lacked magic.
Pianist Gilmour MacLeod’s playing, however, was strong and unerring which ensured the performance went by more or less smoothly. There was a lack of communication between the pair though, except for a final flourish and the end of the last movements. Unfortunately, rare moments of drama such as this were a mere consolation for a low-key, unpolished performance.