Lunchtime Concert: Duo Karadys, Cheltenham Town Hall
The viola is the butt of many jokes, but this is totally unwarranted, as in the right hands it is an instrument of warmth and expressiveness.
In music by Brahms, Enescu and Bridge, Carol Hubel-Allen showed us what the viola can achieve.
Both she and pianist Alan MacLean gave delightful introductions to each piece, and in performance they worked well together as a team.
Two compositions by Brahms showed him at different stages in his life. In both we heard his typical long-flowing melodies.
The Sonata in f minor, one of two he wrote for clarinet and piano, was published as also suitable for viola. The first two movements, deeply felt, drew sonorous playing from both performers, who were able to change mood convincingly in the third movement Landler.
The aim of a Concertstuck is to show the capabilities of a performer, and the two contrasting sections of Enescu's work demanded more technical showmanship than Brahms.
Carol Hubel-Allen showed complete mastery of harmonics, double stopping and chromatic passages with attention to dynamics.
In this and throughout this recital, Alan MacLean was a sympathetic partner, knowing when to accompany and when to come to the fore.
Frank Bridge is never divorced from being Benjamin Britten's teacher. He was also an accomplished violist, and gave Britten his viola as Britten was leaving for America in1939.
His two compositions were contrasted in mood. Pensiero had the long flowing lines of Brahms; Allegro appassionato was a virtuosic piece of brilliant writing, brilliantly played.
For an encore this musical duo played their arrangement of Brahms lied Die Melodien.