Judith Hall & Craig Ogden at Sherwell United Church in Plymouth (review)

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Despite living in a great country, most Australians like to go overseas some time in their lives.

Within the space of an hour, flautist, Judith Hall, and Craig Ogden (guitar), now both firmly ensconced in the UK, took the packed audience on a worldwide musical journey, embracing a great mix of styles along the way.

Giuliani’s Gran Duetto Concertante is a substantial work which both players despatched with great elan, making light work of the bristling technical difficulties in each part.

Arguably the Trois Esquisses of French film-composer, Benoit Schlosberg, was one of the programme’s highlights, where both performers played as one, such was their obvious artistic and spiritual empathy.

Bartok’s Romanian Folk Dances provided the perfect antidote to the patently jazz-inspired harmonies of the Schlosberg, and where the flute-playing, in particular, was of the highest order, especially with such effective articulation in the top register.

Chopin’s Variations on a Theme by Rossini followed suit, leaving Roland Dyens’s solo-guitar transcription of Over the Rainbow to redress the balance.

Award-winning American composer, Robert Beaser’s Mountain Songs, proved a great find, where the highly original writing perfectly suited the prodigious skills of both artists, leaving my own light-hearted take on Waltzing Matilda to send everyone home with an antipodean spring in their step, to end a truly first-rate recital that will surely be a hard act to follow.


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