Review: Recital by the Rossenby Duo

The Rossenby Duo (Fiona Ross and Matthew Lazenby) . (S)
The Rossenby Duo (Fiona Ross and Matthew Lazenby) . (S)

Recital by the Rossenby Duo (Fiona Ross and Matthew Lazenby)

If you’ve ever been to a tea-time concert in one of the little Churches in Prague then you’ll instantly capture the feeling of this delightful Recital, given by Matthew and Fiona at The Church of the Immaculate Conception at Scarthingwell on Sunday, August 19. Just under an hour of delightful music, beautifully played and sung by this enterprising Duo. Prague – style, the Organ and Musician’s Gallery are at the back of the Church, and so the audience don’t watch the performers, they listen to the music and absorb the atmosphere of the church, looking towards the Sanctuary, which really aids concentration and contemplation.

The duo played a selection of pieces, appropriate to the setting and to the wonderful acoustic of the small but lofty and beautiful Church. The musica ranged from Frescobaldi played with great style on the Organ by Matthew to a Suite composed especially for the Duo by Tim Knight, and included Pieces for the superb historic Carolus Allen Organ (1854) and Soprano items delightfully sung by Fiona who also played her violin to Matthew’s sensitive accompaniment on the piano. Fiona has a delightfully pure and fresh soprano voice, and her violin playing is excellent. The Rossenby Suite (Tim Knight b 1959) ended the Recital and this was a delightful climax, a suite for violin and piano with some very English sounds as well as a hint of a Celtic lilt nodding at Fiona’s Scottish heritage. The church at Scarthingwell was built in 1854 as the private chapel of the Maxwell Stuart Family, attached to Scarthingwell Hall. Local Catholics were invited to attend Mass with entry by the south door, whilst the family used the western gallery. The hall was demolished in 1965, but the Church remains, and Mass is offered there three times a week, as part of the (Catholic) Parish of Sherburn. It was a hot afternoon and the Church was cool, and it’s hard to imagine a more pleasant way to pass a lazy Sunday. It was an excellent recital – and very affirming to see two young musicians using their skills time and talents to entertain us, and at the same time to raise over £300 for Cancer Research. More Recitals are planned in nearby Churches, and we hope to give plenty of notice of future events.

By John Townend