“Something of the real character of Mozart burst upon the audience during the Chipping Campden Music Festival on Wednesday last week when the violinist Ruth Rogers and the viola player Lawrence Power gave an electrifying performance of the maestro’s great ‘Sinfonia Concertante’ K364.
It is well known that Mozart was mischievous and that he liked practical jokes. Here we had a rendition of glorious music played brilliantly by a man and a woman having great fun – and at times deliciously naughty fun.
They also achieved that remarkable feat of giving the impression the work had been written especially for them by a composer more than usually attuned to the nature of high-octane encounters between members of the opposite sex. This was two musical instruments taking on personalities of their own – sometimes in gentle conversation and sometimes in querulous argument.
It was fitting that, in this instance, the higher pitched violin was played by a woman and the lower pitched viola by a man!
Accompanied by the Chipping Campden Festival Academy Orchestra conducted by Thomas Hull, Ms Rogers and Mr Power pulled off the other astonishing achievement of playing this music as though it had never been played before – as if they were making it up as they went along. Now that, if I may say so, is truly great musicianship…”
Preston Witts, Stratford Herald
“Rogers’ talent, passion and vivaciousness is second to none as she masterfully performed Vivaldi’s Four Seasons to a mesmorised audience.”
Covent Garden Guide, Feb 2008
“Chamber music recitals just don’t get much better than this. From the moment violinist, Ruth Rogers, walked on to Plymouth’s Sherwell Centre stage, it was clear that here was an artist who simply exuded great warmth and personality, before a single note was even heard! The playing, of course, was quite superb, from the opening Mozart sonata where classical poise and neatness of articulation were the order of the day, to the sheer panache and virtuosic flamboyance of Saint-Saëns’s challenging Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso. Ruth has that rare but absolutely invaluable ability to present music visually, but always managing to avoid contrived and empty gesturing for effect. Empathy between soloist and accompanist is essential in a duo, and here Ruth was so fortunate in having the services of Martin Cousin, who very sensibly refrained from using the fully-open piano lid until the second half, which contrasted a highly effective reading of Messiaen’s Thème et Variations with a spectacular performance of Franck’s tour de force Sonata in A. Here, both players combined immense power with the most delicate playing, and where Ruth’s gorgeously rich tone was a pure delight to hear. In a prestigious concert series where, over the years, most of the top artists have appeared, this recital is right up there with the very best – and with a delightful Kreisler encore thrown in, who could have asked for anything more!”
Philip R Buttall, Plymouth Herald, Jan 2008
“Ruth Rogers’ account of Bruch’s Violin Concerto No 1 was full of youthful freshness, a rare combination of passion, hushed inten sity and fine spontaneity. The slow movement sounded ravishing with its poetic flair, simplicity of phrasing and purity of sound, while the finale, with its double-stopping, was impulsive in its bravura and full of life.”
Petersfield Local Press
“The latest in the Young Artists’ Platform section of this series was given by Ruth Rogers (violin) and Alvin Moisey (piano). Rogers has been described by Musical Opinion as “one of the most gifted violinists in Britain” and The Times deemed Moisey “a pistol-packing pianist”.
No argument from anyone who heard this recital, to be sure. Their personalities shone through their playing, yet this was no display of pyrotechnics. Both played so securely that their technical efficiency was quickly taken for granted, and they were focussed solely on the heart of the music.
They played four pieces. Beethoven’s Sonata Op. 12 No.3 in E flat, in as dignified, nimble and warm a performance as you’re likely to hear for some time to come; Albert Ginastera’s Pampeana No. 1, a “rhapsody for violin and piano” in which, though sparks frequently flew upward, there was no shortage of heart, and Karol Szymanowski’s sensuous Sonata, Op. 9.
The latter two titles were relatively unfamiliar, but nothing in the programme was stylistically unfamiliar and at best one might have expected a pleasing and cosy happy-hour of music.
What we heard, however, was an object lesson in making every item sound fresh and vividly alive – even the more familiar Beethoven. That even applies to the encore, Fritz Kreisler’s Liebersleid, still a joy to hear in this performance.”
Howard Thomas, Croydon Advertiser
“So on to the Vivaldi, which does not figure highly among my play-it-again-Sam items or rather, only appeals if enacted with the freshness of belief it inspired by here. After all, when played right thorugh, it tells a story; and an orchestra like this, alert to its electrifying contrasts and narrative colour, can, in the drooping sequences of ‘Summer’, the echoings and twitterings of ‘Spring’, or the rapt cantilena of ‘Winter’s largo- section, reaffirm Vivaldi’s credentials as a top-rate programmatic writer.
Essential is the presence of a solo violin as nimble and creamy as that wielded by Ruth Rogers, BBC Radio 2 Young Musician finalist in 2000, and these days, forging ahead. The lean, athletic path she pursued, the tone neither too haggard, nor too luscious, was perfectly in style.”
The Oxford Times, 14th May 2004
“..violinist Ruth Rogers proved a delight to listen to.”
The Irish Times, 26th September 2003
“The solo sequences by the young violinist Ruth Rogers, a dynamic, sparkling performer; these proved profoundly satisfying.”
Al-Ahram Newspaper, Egypt, 4-10 September 2003
“From the very first bars of Beethoven’s Violin Sonata Opus 30 No 3 I was made aware of a violinist of firm commitment, whose sense of drama and musicality was implicit in all that she was about to convey to her Wigmore Hall audience on 12 May. Ruth Rogers’ conviction to the music allowed me a rare moment in reviewing to simply sit back and enjoy the performance. Her sense of dynamic shading brought Beethoven alive in the Allegro assai, while the Tempo di minuetto second movement found inherent charm and a deep respect for the composer, the whole sonata charaterised by elegantly poised playing from both Rogers and her astute duo partner, pianist Alvin Moisey.
Karol Szymanowski’s 1904 Violin Sonata Opus 9 proved an equally powerful performance, hitting at the heart of its Romantic leaning; the wholesome yet unfettered piano part courting the violin strains. Rogers’ controlled bowing allowed the work the feel of a concerto; fiery and robust, the sound was thrilling and excited passion throughout.
Following a characterful performance of Alberto Ginastera’s rarely heard 1947 first Pampeana, came a bold and imaginative interpretation of Richard Strauss’ 1887 Violin Sonata Opus 19. Rogers’ unrelenting boldness of style captivated me, while passages of uttermost delicacy, fashioning the Andante cantabile, was as impressive as it was beautiful. The Andante opening of the Finale was breathtaking before a quixotic Allegro was pronounced with consummate skill.
Ruth Rogers must be one of the most gifted young violinists in Britain, her playing not calculated in any sense, her performance style and technique so assured that the music flows as a natural consequence of innermost understanding.”
Musical Opinion, September 2003
“Real electricity in Szymanowski’s Notturno e Tarantella – the brilliant and dashing Tarantella in particular drew sparks as the virtuoso material was delivered with panache.”
The Strad, May 2003
“..full range of violinistic prowess. Rogers and Moisey mapped out a persuasive account, with genuine emotional intensity.”
The Strad, May 2003
“The start of the concert is a blessed relief. Even though it’s an afternoon freebie, Rogers is dressed as if we’d paid 100 pounds at the Philharmonic, in black bustier and skirt. Her playing is incredibly beautiful in a programme that includes Beethoven, Elgar and Prokofiev. During Ysaye’s ‘Poeme Elegiaque’ I find that I’m getting a bit weepy and reflect that the last time I cried at anything free was during one of those television ads asking for two pounds to save the child with a drip in his arm from dying. Even that wasn’t strictly speaking free, because I’ve been paying five pounds a month ever since.”
The Observer, Sunday 9th February 2003 (Purcell Room/ Recital with pianist Alvin Moisey)
“The rest of the programme investigated the lure of the Orient in music by Rimsky-Korsakov and Prokofiev. Rimsky’s Sheherazade received an exuberant performance, with some superb solos from leader Ruth Rogers”
The Guardian, Thursday 20th June, 2002 (Britten-Pears Orchestra/ Sakari Oramo)