FACED with the option of facing an audience at 11am on a Monday morning, or 7.30pm, Tuesday evening, I know which one I would choose. Like true professionals, the hour of 11am and the coolness of the Assembly Rooms did not phase Rachel Podger and Christopher Glynn for a moment. With their musical skills and obvious love of the music they were playing – five Mozart Sonatas – they immediately warmed the hearts of their audience.
Three of the five pieces were completions of fragments of Mozart compositions arranged by Timothy Jones. The varying textures of the these three, all in a major key (A, B flat), and the delightful Sonata in G which ended the concert with the sort of light touch that sent the audience out for their lunch with a joyful heart, were performed in perfect balance between Violin and Fortepiano.
Mozart’s charming Sonata in C major and the contemplative Sonata in E minor, the only Sonata the composed in a minor key, completed a programme that appeared to give as much pleasure to the players as it did to the audience.
You and Me will be the greatest Pardners Buddies and Pals sang Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in their 1956 film Pardners, and indeed at that time they were probably the most successful duo in showbusiness.
Soprano Lucy Crowe (pictured) and pianist Anna Tilbrook have that same magical something that makes two people an ideal partnership. It mattered not whether Lucy was singing Schubert’s An Silvia, Mendelssohn’s Suleika, four songs by Debussy, works from three women composers, Fanny Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann, and the sadly neglected late twentieth century composer Madeline Dring, arrangements of traditional songs by Benjamin Britten, or Richard Strauss’ Last Four Songs – Anna Tilbrook’s contribution was always just at the right level.
The four Strauss songs were the high-spot of the evening, singer and pianist capturing the sometimes almost violent changes of mood in the songs, offering an ideal picture frame for their talents.
There was plenty of drama also among the satirical comedy in Cole Porter’s Miss Otis Regrets, which, with Hoagy Carmichael’s Georgia on my Mind, the duo used to close the concert and demonstrate that they were equally at home with a very different genre to the earlier classical compositions.
May I suggest that in view of the splendid way in which they work together they add Pardners to that final selection.