Rowena Calvert, cello, together with her husband Rhys, violin, both members of the London Symphony orchestra, moved out to Hertford relatively recently and are making their mark on the music scene here. Having had a no-show from the booked artistes, we were delighted to find that Rowena was free to play for us today, along with her long-standing accompanist Alison Rhind.
The program they had managed to put together for us consisted of a Starter, a Main course and, after the interval a choice of many tasty Desserts.
To whet our appetites, they gave us the Adagio & Allegro by Schumann. This was the essence of Schumann, with his typical violent changes from stormy to peaceful. It was a chance for Rowena to show off her stunning virtuosic technique, playing with the greatest gusto, superbly complemented by Alison’s pianism. They were then ready to treat us to the Main Course – namely the Arpeggione sonata by Schubert. The composer liked to ‘milk’ a good tune and the sign of Rowena’s excellence was how she nuanced these repetitions to hold our interest.
After the interval, the main Dessert was the charming set of six pieces.
Rowena’s delightful introduction set the mood as romantic. Indeed the romping dances such as the ‘jota’ contrasted superbly with the restrained and thoughtful movements. The healthy eighty strong audience were spell-bound by such energetic and lyrical playing. As for the Paganini ‘Moses’ variations, a more appropriate description would be after dinner fire works. Rowena shimmied up and down the fingerboard like a well seasoned athlete, displaying every possible variation of tone, employing harmonics to cause the audience to gape in disbelief . The vibrant atmosphere after the music made one realize how stimulating is the effect of live music in such an intimate setting as the Quaker meeting House.
Look out for the series of concerts which she and her husband have arranged at Holy Trinity Church, Bengeo. Rowena will try to ensure that our dates did not clash.
Thus it has to be said that Hertford is privileged to feast on the finest music in the months to come.
Were you at this concert? Let us know what you thought in the comments section (below).