Feva review: Knaresborough Pro Musica, Bach to Tango II

Knaresborough Pro Musica.
Knaresborough Pro Musica.

Bach to Tango 2 was Knaresborough Pro Musica’s contribution to the FEVA Festival. A packed church thoroughly enjoyed what appeared to be a very disparate programme.

In fact, the pieces shared two common threads as pointed out by Gemma Bass the Guest Leader of the group –long, languorous melodies and dance.

The Mozart Divertimento K138 was performed using closely observed dynamics and a tight ensemble maintained by Gemma’s demonstrative lead and encouraging smile. Gemma then gave an enchanting account of Bach’s Violin Concerto in A minor demonstrating her virtuosity, especially in the final allegro.

The second half opened with Bartok’s Romanian Folk Dances. They were beautifully played, capturing the varying moods from hazy sleepiness to wild rustic dancing. The performance was poised and the group sensitive to the many changes in mood, dynamics and tempo - always difficult to achieve without a conductor.

Having obviously mastered the technical demands of Bach’s Suite No.3 for solo cello, Andrew Crick was able to give each movement the feeling of an extemporization, exploring the limits of the instrument’s harmonic and expressive possibilities to the obvious delight of the audience.

The Piazzolla pieces, “Oblivion” and “Milonga en re” held the audience spellbound with their haunting melodies and harmonies featuring exquisite violin and cello solos. However, the insistent rhythms of the final piece, Libertango, earned KpM rousing and prolonged applause leading to an encore of the Bartok.

By Ian Charters