A remarkable evening, both for the quality of the performances and the range of music that they covered - from the Baroque to the 20th century.
After opening with songs by Ivor Gurney and Vaughan Williams, the main piece in the first half was the first Piano Quartet by Gabiel Fauré, Op 15 in C minor, which the composer worked on and revised over a period of almost ten years. Typical of Fauré's middle years, it is a luminous work with a generally optimistic feel and great refinement of texture, and the quartet's playing of it was a real joy. The church's Bechstein grand piano, played by Marisa Cornford, really seemed to suit this music.
After the interval things took a whole new direction. Arvo Pärt's "Mozart's Adagio" was new to me and I really enjoyed what might be described as a "decomposition" of the earlier composer's work. It was followed by more Pärt, the movingly romantic and deeply sad song "Es sang vor langen Jahren", in which Jacobine van Laar's sumptuous tone was accompanied by Dan Cornford on viola and Cormack Browne on violin.
Another complete change of gear took us to a final section of works by JS Bach, for which Marisa took to the organ console. The pieces included an arrangement of the Trio Sonata No 1 for organ which, as Dan explained, lent itself to being split up into four individual parts. Jacobine then returned to the stage to sing arias from Bach's cantatas, with the accompaniment of the quartet and underpinned by Roberto Sorrentino's cello continuo.
We lit the church by candlelight for this concert, as can be seen in the photos, which always gives a lovely atmosphere. But perhaps the use of the big screen to project the programme rather detracted from that - a lesson for the future!
Big thanks to the musicians for arranging this lovely evening, and also the children's workshop which they ran earlier in the day. Full marks for stamina!
Click on any of the thumbnails for a larger image