Paganini to Piazzolla
– David Tobin (Violin), Shirin Goudarzi-Tobin (Piano) & Morgan Buckley (Guitar), John Field Room, National Concert Hall, 13th August 2014

Rarely is it the case these days that any concert is over-subscribed to the point where ushers have to hunt in search of more chairs five-minutes before the scheduled start of a concert, but this happens to be the case for David Tobin’s return to the John Field Room on Wednesday night for his Paganini to Piazzolla concert. David is accompanied by another Tobin, namely his mother Shirin Goudarzi-Tobin on piano for four works of the concert, and the central portion of the programme features the accompaniment of Morgan Buckley on guitar.

Opening the concert is Sonata No 1, Op 13 for Violin and Piano in A Major by Fauré. The most interesting movements in this work were the Andante (second movement), and the Allegro Vivo (third movement). Allegro tempos surround the second movement imbueing the Andante with even more emotional intensity. It’s a poignant barcarolle, where the pianist and violinist are required to become almost one voice, and this was achieved by Tobin and Goudarzi-Tobin with effortless grace.

The Fauré is followed by what is the most interesting programme choice of the evening, namely Theme and Variations for Violin and Piano by Messiaen. Tobin and Goudarzi-Tobin again demonstrate their close relationship resulting in a unified and dynamic performance. Paganini’s Cantabile in D Major for Violin and Guitar is typical of the composer’s less virtuosic style of violin writing, instead the work is a beautifully lyrical song. Another short piece concludes the act, this time the stunningly virtuosic and energetic Danse Espagnole for Violin and Guitar by De Falla, which combines the rhythmic qualities of the folk dances the composer’s native Spain. The communicative interplay between Tobin and Buckley resulted in a refreshing vibrance and synergy.

Act two opens with Piazzolla’s Histoire du Tango, arranged by Aussel/Varelas for Violin and Guitar. The work tells the story of the fascinating history of the tango in four movements. Movement one is as spirited and joyful as it is virtuosic, but the real highlight is the second, where the tango is transformed from being a piece for dancing into a romantic tête-à-tête, performed elegantly by Tobin and Buckley. The final movement brings the tango into the modern age and looks to the future, via influences of atonality and Stravinsky. The penultimate piece reintroduces Goudarzi-Tobin on piano for Ravel’s Ce en Forme de Habanera for Violin and Piano which moves us swiftly from Argentina to Cuba. Goudarzi-Tobin provides the trademark dance rhythm in both the left hand with similar variations in the right hand expertly, while Tobin provides all the sensuality and passion through the highly intricate melody. Closing the concert is Carmen Fantasie for Violin and Piano, a suite based on melodies from Bizet’s opera. Saving the most intricately virtuosic piece until last is a gamble but Tobin performed piece with apparent effortlessness, although he did break a sweat on this one

At the end of the evening after the necessary standing ovation, one leaves the John Field Room humming exotic dances, marvelling not only at at the energy and skills of the young soloist, but also at the ingenuity of his programming skills, and his choice of mixing the accompaniment between piano and guitar, a choice which certainly enhanced the concert overall. There is something particularly special about the resulting nuance and subtlety of this violin and guitar performances on the night; perhaps it was the more dynamic range of the guitar as opposed to the piano, particularly in the softer sections, where you can see the audience moving forward in their chairs to hear every semiquaver; perhaps it is the guitar’s predisposition to dance music; or perhaps it was the more obvious facial communication between Tobin and Buckley and their sharing of knowledge equally during their introductions to each of their pieces.


Fauré – Sonata No 1, Op 13 for Violin and Piano in A Major

Messaien – Theme and Variations for Violin and Piano

Paganini – Cantabile in D Major for Violin and Guitar

De Falla – Danse Espagnolefor Violin and Guitar

Piazolla – Histoire du Tango for Violin and Guitar

Ravel – ce en Forme de Habanera for Violin and Piano

Bizet – Carmen Fantasie for Violin and Piano