Piquant and entertaining programme from guitar and viola d’amore at St Andrew’s

Jane Curry (guitar) and Donald Maurice (viola d’amore)

Music by Locatelli, Hindemith, Bruce Paine, Pablo de Sarasate, Ciprian Porumbescu and Miroslav Tadeć

St. Andrew’s on The Terrace

Wednesday, 9 May 2018, 12.15 pm

I heard these two musicians last year, and once again I can only say that their playing is highly skilled and utterly delightful, and the repertoire charming.

A sizeable audience, including numbers of young people, heard them play a diverse range of music, not all of it composed for precisely this instrumentation, but all of it well worth hearing and apt for the combination.

The Locatelli Sonata Op.2, no.4 was enchanting.  Originally written for flute and continuo, it worked very well in this instrumentation, the guitar performing the continuo part, amply producing a sound closer to the harpsichord than the piano would in an arrangement that exists for violin and piano.  The sweet tone of the viola d’amore in the hands of a thoroughly competent musician is a treat to hear.  The movements, adagio-allegro-largo-allegro were beautifully contrasted, the subtle nuances and variety of tone of the viola d’amore giving everything character and life.

Paul Hindemith was one of the first of the modern composers to write for the old instrument; his Kleine Sonata Op.25, no.2 was indeed short.  There was much lively interplay between the two instruments, and discordant passages part of the humour of the composition

Bruce Paine is an Auckland =based guitarist and composer.  His Finchdean Duet is named after a peaceful village in England, and was originally a solo piece.  Maurice employed the deeper, richer tones of his instrument in this work, which I found attractive but not adventurous.

Pablo de Sarasate was a nineteenth century Spanish violinist and composer.  He wrote many pieces based on Spanish dances, for his instrument.  ‘Playera’ was one in a collection of such dances for violin and piano – though according to my Spanish dictionary, the word literally means ‘canvas shoes’.  It was appealing music.

Romanian composer Ciprian Porumbescu had a short life, and his ‘Balada’ was  probably written in confinement to his home region, where his political views kept him.  He contracted tuberculosis, which accounted for his early death.  It was a sad piece (written for violin and piano), but eloquent and plaintive.  It had these two instruments sounding so well together; the effect was lovely, and elegant.

The final offering in the concert consisted of two ‘Macedonian Pieces’ by Miroslav Tadeć, a Serbian now resident in the USA.  He is a prolific guitarist, composer and recording artist.  Maurice’s parts in ‘Jovka Kumanovka’ and ‘Cajdarsko Oro’ were originally written for flute.  The first one was rather wistful but folksy in character.

The second sounded like a folk dance, fast and very rhythmic.  The viola d’amore made it sound quite skittish. It rounded out a piquant and entertaining programme.






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