Concert at St Pancras Church, London
Yesterday, Reiad and I played as a string duo, performing a lunchtime concert as part of the Thursday series at the Church of St Pancras opposite Euston station in London. As we specialise in Violin / Viola repertoire it was difficult choosing just 45 minutes worth of chamber music to include in this short programme.
We decided to start with a Sonata in C by J. Haydn (Hob. 6: no. 6) which was part of a collection of six sonatas for violin with viola accompaniment. It isn’t the easiest piece to start a concert with as its sparse and intimate nature doesn’t immediately engage the audience as a more dramatic piece would. Nevertheless, it is full of charm and invention with the slow movement yielding harmonies of a searching nature.
We followed this with a little known duo by Alessandro Rolla (in G minor Op. 6 no. 2). Having recorded a piece by Rolla before on our disc. it was refreshing to perform another work by the same composer. Rolla was a violist and therefore wrote very well for that instrument, bringing it far more to the fore and using a very conversational style between the two instruments.
Finally, we ended the programme with a real tour de force – the virtuosic Handel Halvorsen Sarabande (taken from Handel’s Keyboard Suite no. 11). This is a real showpiece, possibly even more challenging than the better known Handel Halvorsen Passacaglia which we have frequently performed in the past. It’s a shame it doesn’t get played too often as it is a fantastic piece, full of some marvellously contrasting and exciting writing, ending with a real flourish.
We had a good sized audience and the church itself has some lovely acoustics which are ideal for chamber music – altogether a very satisfying playing experience.