A bold move that paid off
It was a bold move by the Camilli String Trio to include a medley of Scottish folk songs in its lunchtime concert at Peterborough Cathedral. Following classical and romantic works by Haydn and de Beriot, the trio moved onto a distinctly different level when playing tunes like Neil Gow’s Lament and Charlie is My Darling.
But, it was the performance of My Love is like a Red Red Rose which made an unforgettable and transcending impression.
It’s an artistic cliche that a fairy story can have more impact than a novel, and that a simple tune can be more moving than a symphony, and the lovely melody associated with Robbie Burns’ words was a case in point. The tune itself was meltingly played by the trio’s leader Erin Smith delicately accompanied by second violinist Nandita Bhatia and cellist Olivia Clayton.
It was Nandita who had made these ravishing arrangements of five folk songs to form a suite that was authentically Scottish yet gentle and lyrical at the same time.
The three players had begun the recital with the typically genial string trio in C major by Josef Haydn who, incidentally, was a contemporary of Burns and who also had an interest in Scottish folk.
It was good to hear all the repeats in a vigorous performance characterised by a relentlessly busy first violin line.
The splendid Duo Concertante No 1 by Charles-Auguste de Beriot which followed was as arresting as it was unfamiliar.
It began with a series of passionate chords that belied the fact that only two violinists were playing, and included a thrilling acceleration into the recap of the main theme of the first movement.
There was more music for strings a week later, but plucked rather than bowed, when Eleanor Turner presented a programme of music played on a magnificent electro-acoustic harp.
Her programme consisted of a number of short pieces, most of them arranged by Eleanor herself from piano and orchestral scores. These included music by Bach, Grieg, and Liszt, but coincidentally Eleanor too soon delved into more folky repertoire!
First playing a lively jig from Dario Marianelli’s film music to Pride and Prejudice, followed by an air and reel inspired by a movement from Savourna Stevenson’s Harp Quintet.
Eleanor Turner is also a composer in her own right and it was great to hear an unmistakably authentic performance of her piece Two Breton Girls by the
Lively, minimalistic, with a syncopated main theme, this accessible and arresting score obviously made an impact on the large audience.