Elizabeth Cooney's star status catapulted from 'rising' to 'risen' when she enchanted a capacity audience at the NCH last Wednesday week. Much attention was given in pre-concert discourse to the colossal programme she had endeavoured to take on - four full sonatas, including Kreisler's daunting 'Devil's Trill' arrangement of Tartini's G minor sonata. Cooney breezed through this labyrinth of notes as she would her daily scales. She channelled into a different gear for her Beethoven, demonstrating a mature understanding of the sonata for what it is - a duo with piano.
The Ravel and Prokofiev sonatas gave rise to Cooney's finest display, encompassing a wide spectrum of articulation and effect. It was most notably in these works that Cooney embraced a wonderful senza vibrato (without vibrato) sound. Many violinists either shy away from this most primary of colours or simply cannot achieve it without conscious effort, but Cooney's vibrato, in general, was never arbitrary, the use of it as consciously beautiful as the absence thereof.
Praise must of course be given to pianist, Daniel Hill, a fantastically capable musician in his own right. As an accompanist, he couldn't be faulted and he boasts nothing less than the technical prowess that marks Cooney's playing. Success is written in the stars for this duo.