LIVE REVIEW: Antony and Friends, Todmorden Central Methodist Church, 4th March 2017

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Antony Brannick’s brother, percussionist Chris Brannick, returned for this concert. It began with a rousing piano trio version of the Carmen overture, in which the brothers were joined by composer Tim Benjamin.

Antony followed this with some Schumann piano pieces, from “Fantasiestücke” (Op 12), including “Soaring” where there was a sense of struggle.

Chris Brannick then played various percussion instruments in a beautiful performance of Vaughan Williams’ “Fantasia on Greensleeves”, with Antony Brannick on piano.

Some shorter pieces for percussion followed, with Chris Brannick demonstrating the versatility and drama of the snare drum, and the expressiveness of the vibraphone.

The second half started with two piano pieces; Schubert’s andante sostenuto from his sonata in B flat major (D960), with its sense of yearning, and Mendelssohn’s emotional “Song without words” (Op 19 nr1).

Antony and Chris’s father recently died, and was commemorated with some Gilbert and Sullivan. This unsolemn choice was in keeping with their father’s wish for no black clothes at his funeral. They began with Chris as vocalist and Antony on piano in a hilarious new version of the Mikado’s song, in which penalties are suggested for various modern figures “to make the punishment fit the crime”.

Then Chris Brannick’s percussion featured once more. Martin Ellerby’s “Kilimanjaro”, played on marimba, had a feeling of call-and-response singing. “Yaa yaa kole”, a version of a cheerful mocking song, was played on an African percussion instrument. Jill Jarman’s “New Orleans Sunrise”, for snare drum, had a jazzy feel and a sense of a city waking up to activity.

The concert ended with a Gilbert and Sullivan piano medley from both brothers, followed by Tom Lehrer’s “We will all go together when we go”, whose satire is sadly still relevant.