Concert given on 15 November 2022

The second concert of the season was given by the Calderón Duo who are Florence Hill classical guitar and Holly Melia flute and piccolo; what a splendid evening of music it was. The concert began with Jaques Ibert’s Entr’acte and Florence and Holly played this Spanish style music beautifully with the guitar and flute weaving in an out, this was a lovely beginning to the concert.

Then we had Edward McGuire’s Improvisations on Calderón. Pedro de la Barca Calderón was a Spanish poet and playwright, born in Madrid in 1600 and died in 1681. Florence confirmed that the Duo are named after him. Keith Osborne’s splendid programme notes say that the music commentates on elements of comedy and tragedy in the playwright’s work. This was evident in the music which began with a sad melodic tune followed by rapid trills from the flute echoed by the guitar, both instruments being played with wit and verve. Holly changed to the piccolo and the music speeded up then it was back to the flute.

Next we heard Siciliane by Pergolese, a lyrical, lilting piece beautifully played. This was followed by Piazzola’s Histoire du Tango – Bordel and Cafė these two pieces were very enjoyable, we were tangoed!

Florence has the makings of a very good composer indeed, as shown by her guitar solo of her own Reflections, this was played with great feeling and delicacy and was a highlight of the evening.

The first half ended with Faurė’s Pavane. Faurė never disappoints and this familiar piece sounded fresh played on the flute and guitar. A real delight to listen to.

After the interval Holly paced into the hall playing Debussy’s Syrinx on the flute, this was a dramatic beginning to the second half. Syrinx was a nymph in Greek mythology and known for her chastity, pursued by the god Pan, she ran to the river’s edge and asked the river nymphs for help. They transformed her into hollow water reeds that made a haunting sound when the god’s frustrated breath blew across them. Pan cut the reeds to fashion the first set of panpipes, which were thenceforth known as syrinx. The flute was the perfect instrument for this work.

This was followed by another piece by Edward McGuire – Passing Seasons: Summer Murmur, Autumn Leaves, Winter Thoughts and Spring Awakening. I thought that Winter Thoughts were quite melancholic but Spring Awakening was more cheerful with the flute singing away like a whole flock of birds.

We then heard a collection of ten folk songs collected by Cecil Sharpe and Ralph Vaughan Williams. The guitar and flute are well suited to play folk tunes and these were so enjoyable to listen to. The piccolo was much in evidence doing duty as a penny whistle. Holly told me that the piccolo is the loudest instrument in the orchestra! I believed her.

The Folk Songs were followed by Enrique Granados’ Danza Espaňola No 5. This was beautifully played and I was certainly in Spain for a while.The concert ended with Piazzola’s Libertango and such was the warm applause at the end that Florence and Holly gave us an encore. Florence said that this was another of her compositions but that she hasn’t yet given it a name and so she proposed to call it “Boston Groove” in our honour. We were honoured as this is a wonderful piece of music and deserves to be firmly in the repertoire. The audience had a thoroughly good, musical evening.

Our next concert is the Christmas one on 20 December.