The Blissful Viola

American violist Christine Rutledge and British award-winning pianist David Gomper offer a little afternoon serenity in the midst of the festival hubbub. As the concert programme notes point out, Rutledge is a musician of eclectic tastes and talents, taking in cutting edge, standard repertoire and baroque. We are treated to a mix of works by American and British composers: Frank Bridge, the American-Armenian Alan Hovhaness, Benjamin Britten (who was Bridge’s student), and York Bowen. All of these works appear to have been carefully chosen to showcase the versatility of the viola: an instrument often overlooked in favour of its more fashionable peers.

Rutledge has rightly been praised for her beautiful tone. This is evident from the get-go with a stirring open C inaugurating Bridge’s ‘Pensiero’, an exploration of the darker side of the instrument. In Bridge’s ‘Allegro Appassionato’, Rutledge ably navigates the highest registers with an energetic melody, accompanied by the piano’s constant sixteenth-note motif. Early on then, Rutledge makes the case for the versatility of the viola and we settle in our comfy church seats knowing we are in capable hands.

Britten’s ‘Lachrymae’ (‘Shed my tears’) features some deft pizzicato in the third variation, while Hovhaness’s ‘Chagagir’ (meaning ‘torch bearer’ in Armenian) lends an exotic twist to proceedings. Bowen’s ‘Phantasy’ sees Rutledge cutting loose somewhat and having fun with a rigorous rendition of perhaps the most accessible and romantic piece of the afternoon. Speaking just once to thank her mother-in-law in the front row, the Glaswegian artist Ann Meade, for designing her beautiful silk-chiffon kimono coat, Rutledge is evidently happy to let the art speak for itself. A calm presence, she and her instrument strike a welcome note of calm and we leave feeling better armed to face the rest of the day.

Reviews by Ella Moran-Jones

theSpace @ Symposium Hall

The Mercenary Fiddler AKA Elsa Jean McTaggart

★★★
The Jazz Bar

Nick Harper

★★★★
Acoustic Music Centre @ St Bride's

Mairearad and Anna

★★★★★
The Jazz Bar

Newt North

★★★★
Acoustic Music Centre @ St Bride's

John Renbourn and Wizz Jones

★★★
The Jazz Bar

Americana Road Trip

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

The Blurb

Praised for her beautiful tone by The Strad, the spectacular American violist Christine Rutledge and award-winning pianist/composer David Gompper come together to perform works by British and American composers including Bridge, Britten, Bowen and Gompper.

Most Popular See More

SIX

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Dear Evan Hansen

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Grease the Musical

From £20.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

My Fair Lady

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets