One of the most rewarding regular engagements I get to play for is at the Fonthill House care home in St Albans. This is a wonderful home for older people where high quality¬†concerts and other¬†activities¬†play a significant part in¬†residents’ day-to-day lives.¬† We have performed at Fonthill as a string duo (violin with viola or violin with cello) and other players from our group have given performances as a cello duo. Fonthill Care¬†home also has a high quality sampled piano in the shape of a baby grand, so I am immensely lucky to have the opportunity to play violin and piano recitals with the wonderfully gifted pianist Becky Holt. It also gives us both the opportunity to explore a diverse range of music. If you’d like to find out more about our reasonably priced concerts, do visit our ‘Recitals and Concerts’ page here.
It is always a deceptively tricky concert at Fonthill, as the audience (varying between 15 and 20 people) is a discerning one and quite outspoken if they don‚Äôt like what they hear! Also, as we perform in such intimate surroundings, there are no acoustics to hide behind, nor can we utilize the distance that often exists between a raised platform and an audience. Direct communication is the key, both in the form of engaging spoken introductions, as well as¬† through¬†sincere performances¬†which hopefully get to the essence of the music. There‚Äôs also a little light-hearted banter with our audience and a cup of tea with everyone afterwards.¬†
Tonight we played a little Mozart (in the form of his Bb major Sonata), the Schubert Sonatina in A minor and Beethoven‚Äôs Sonata in F (often referred to as the ‚ÄòSpring‚Äô Sonata). In between were items by Wieniawsky and Kreisler. There is nothing quite like the combination of violin and piano when it works well. Two¬†musicians can create a strong ensemble even¬†more readily than three or four and there is so much that one instrument can absorb from the other. Violin and piano repertoire is so vast and varied. . .we¬†look forward to many more recitals, and the opportunity it gives in exploring the works for¬†this combination¬†as well as the special musical rapport it generates.