Virtuosity coupled with versatility

“Flute and Piano” Tilanka Jayamanne (flute), Sureka Amerasinghe (piano), concert held on September 26 at the Russian Centre Auditorium in aid of the Colombo Young Women’s Christian Association. Reviewed by Himali Jinadasa

It was indeed both a pleasure and rare experience to witness Tilanka’s second solo recital performance, which brought together a combination of some of the more demanding classical pieces in a flautist’s repertoire with a collection of popular contemporary arrangements by the flautist cum composer.

Tilanka on flute accompanied by Sureka
on piano

The first segment of the concert concentrated on the classical, opening with Chaminade’s Concertino, Op. 107. Tilanka demonstrated agility between the octaves, good balanced phrasing capturing the lyrical quality of the piece. Mozart’s Concerto in G Major K313 Adagio ma non troppo and Rondo was rendered with beautiful phrasing coupled with a warm and rich tone quality. The staccato passages in the Rondo were also well formed and lively and the contrasts in Hindemith’s Sonata showed off a particularly strong upper register and good answering interlocking exchanges between flute and piano.With regard to Godard’s Valse from Suite de Trois Morceaus, the renowned flautist James Galway in his notes on performing the Valse comments that ‘it should be played in a style which makes one want to leap up’. Tilanka’s performance certainly captured the clownish character of the music and the mood of a circus ground.

The accompanist Sureka Amerasinghe who has studied at the Royal Academy of Music, London and was also incidentally at one point Tilanka’s flute teacher, supported the performance with her own expertise on the piano and together the conversations between the two players were memorable both in sync in the modern fragmented arrangements i.e. Hindemith and Godard and the harmonies in the Mozart. In the second half both Tilanka and Surekha were joined on the stage by Aruna Siriwardhana on drums for a ‘Contemporary Mix’. Out of the pieces particularly memorable was the jazzy rendition of the theme to the ‘Pink Panther’ brought alive with a theatrical intro by the performers.

The contemporary mix was followed by Tilanka’s own composition ‘Dragon fly’ arranged for flute, piano, violin, bass guitar and drums. Here he was joined by the pianist Eshantha Pieris, Dominic Johnpillai on the violin, Upula Madushanka - bass and Aruna Siriwardhana – drums. The performers enjoyed the piece which was obviously contagious as the result was a well rounded charismatic performance, which delighted the audience with refreshing variations. Aruna Siriwardhana earned a special round of applause for his drum solo.

Summing up, the music performed by Tilanka displayed exceptional virtuosity for a relatively young musician but with the maturity of a well developed performer capable of bringing out the colour and character and capturing the variety of nuances demanded by the pieces selected for the recital.
Technical agility was also well demonstrated both in the classical and contemporary segments with some of the more modern techniques of flute-playing displayed in the latter. Tilanka communicated well with the audience a mark of a true performer which is not always a gift extended with professional experience. This appreciation was aptly shown by the hall packed with Colombo’s more regular concert goers who demanded two encores.

It is also worthy to note that Tilanka prepared for this recital while following a LLB programme at the University of Warwick and has been awarded a music scholarship with the University’s Music Centre.

(The writer is a former co-principal flautist, Lanka Philharmonic Orchestra)

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