The evening of the 12th found me in the Ballroom of the Lansdowne Club, near Berkeley Square. Not a nightingale in sight.
The music was to be provided by the talented violinist Harriet Mackenzie, whom I'd previously seen playing with the Kosmos Ensemble as part of an evening of Klezmer music at the Southbank. On the piano was Indre Petrauskaite.
The program for the evening certainly highlighted Harriet's virtuosity and range on the violin. The stand-out for me was the Sarasate, as it's a favourite piece of mine. Harriet's performance was sparkling in the way you'd expect from a great performer. There was little, if anything, to indicate any apprehension at tackling such difficult pieces. The Sarasate and Tartini were written to dazzle audiences with technique and dazzled we were.
Indre's accompaniment on was very light and lyrical, complementing Harriet's violin without overpowering it, an easy thing to do in a small room with a big Bluthner piano in it. Both Harriet and Indre were obviously enjoying themselves, Indre with a grin on her face, Harriet alternating between intense concentration and sheer abandon, especially for the encore.
The first encore was Monti's Czardas, arranged to be more difficult by Harriet herself. As the applause died down I assumed we would be leaving, it's difficult to top a Mozart/Tartini/Sarasate/Monti program.
The second encore was Massenet's beautifully lyrical Meditation from Thais. Artfully played with a dynamic range it's difficult to experience on a CD or the radio.
The evening was a success for the audience. Tickets were £5, a glass of wine was included. The surroundings were as elegant as any opera house or music venue in London. Over an hour of music played extremely well, including two encores.
The main program consisted of :
Sonata K454 in B flat major
The Devil's Trill Sonata
As I mentioned, there were two encores: Monti's Czardas and Massenet's Meditation.
I was invited to the event by Bluthner's Piano's who are based in the same building. They hold a recital the second Tuesday of each month (except August and December). If you live in London, drop them an email to get yourself onto their mailing list. There's very little that beats listening to well-played live music in great surroundings.