String Duo Concert at St Pancras Church, London

String Duo Concert at St Pancras Church, London – Yesterday, Vaughan Jones on violin and Reiad Chibah on viola played as the Manor House String Duo, performing a lunchtime concert as part of the Thursday series at the Church of St Pancras opposite Euston station in London. Vaughan and Reiad have performed together on many occasions, releasing an acclaimed CD of works for this combination, entitled ‘Spohr, Rolla, Kalliwoda – Works for Violin and Viola’. As we play a large repertoire it was difficult choosing just 45 minutes worth of chamber music to include in this short programme.

Manor House String Duo
Sketch of Vaughan Jones and Reiad Chibah, drawn during the concert

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 CD, 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 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 most satisfying playing experience.