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Michael Haydn, Hoffmeister, Bruni, Kenneth Harding

Duo Walters/Buckley (Violin & Viola)

Michael Haydn (1737 - 1806) Sonata No 4
Kenneth Harding (1903 - 1992) Scherzo (Enigma)
Franz Anton Hoffmeister (1754 - 1812) Duets5 & 6
Antonio Bartolomeo Bruni (1 757 - 1821) Duo Concertant Nos 1 & 2

Roisin Walters (Violin) Liam Buckley (Viola)

Guy's Hospital, London 22 October & 5 November 2008 at 12.30

Londoners (and residents of other big cities) are probably dimly aware that there is a lot of music around to be heard during the daytime, a phenomenon that has tended to grow and become systematised, particularly in Churches and Art Galleries. These events provide valuable opportunities for senior music students on the way to tackling the competitive professional scene.

By chance (after an out-patient appointment) I happened upon one in a modern cathedral, the staggering Atrium No 1 at Guy's Hospital - which also houses in the same space a notable medical-historical museum.

That free concert was an ideal example of what can be on offer if you look out. These two enterprising senior students from the Royal Academy of Music eschewed the obvious Mozart duos (not amongst his most exciting chamber music) and looked out some unusual music for duos, probably exploring the same sites on the internet to which I have made links above.

They played with zest, good rapport and clear enjoyment an absorbing hour of music, none of which I'd ever heard before in fifty years of music reviewing !

The first movement of Michael Haydn's duo outstayed its welcome (maybe they should drop the repeat) but they soon settled down and were on good form for the rest of a testing programme. Harding had a large output of music for viola and this attractive piece was introduced as being "modern and quirky" - not really either, and I think they should be less nervous about introducing contemporary music into their concerts. And, indeed, Walters & Buckley would do well to be a little less perfunctory in their spoken introductions and to tell their audiences more about the unfamiliar composers in which they specialise.

The gem of the recital, undoubtedly, was the two examples by Bruni, a hugely prolific composer best known for his viola method (there are at least 21 duos concertants - New
Grove). Those give scope for the viola to match the violin as equals in virtuosity and romantic expressiveness, and gained enthusiastic appreciation from the audience gathered from staff, patients and visitors to the hospital.

On Guy Fawkes day, there was a trumpet recital at Guy's (Nathan Richards), his instrument making a fine sound in the over-generous acoustic. The programme was suitably relaxing for an informal lunch-time event, but his pianist Elena Kiseleva should know that it is never a good idea to shut the lid of a piano, anywhere.

Peter Grahame Woolf

Nathan Richards (trumpet) Elena Kiseleva (piano)

These informal concerts are provided as part of the Performing Arts programme funded by Guy's and St Thomas' Charity [http://www.gsttcharity.org.uk/arts/performing.html] and held on Mondays at St Thomas' Hospital (adjoining Westminster Bridge) and Wednesdays at Guy's - next to London Bridge Station - "to enhance the experience of patients visiting the hospital and provide a peaceful interlude to the working day for staff“.