Even if the weather outside felt far more like winter, Polish-Italian duo Evva Mizerska and Emma Abbate created a ray of spring sunshine with their opening performance of Beethoven’s Variations on a Theme from Mozart’s Magic Flute.
Here was a perfectly-poised reading which finely reflected the character of the original, while never short on light-hearted playfulness, too.
This proved an ideal light aperitif for Janacek’s Pohadka, where the playing was suitably fervent and effectively portrayed the composer’s idiosyncratic style, as the fairy tale unfolded.
Barber’s epic Sonata followed on seamlessly, with both players tackling the work’s impassioned writing with great aplomb, though where the often thundering climaxes still maintained the well-managed dynamic balance between the instruments.
An unfamiliar composer on the programme can often suggest an avant-garde work in a decidedly modern idiom, whereas the first Sonata by Durham-born Algernon Ashton came as a welcome surprise in the shape of a well-written three-movement work, couched firmly in the Romantic tradition.
If not stunningly inventive, there was still a lot to savour in the freshness of the score.
Chopin’s Introduction and Polonaise Brillante rounded off a thoroughly enjoyable recital by these two talented players, with Davydov’s delightful take on the composer’s A minor Waltz adding the icing on the cake, by way of an encore.
PHILIP R BUTTALL