Panayotis Archontides and Natalie Tsaldarakis returned to Portsmouth and found a much better sized audience than for their previous visit. Maybe their reputation is deservedly growing quite rapidly or perhaps the benefits of the free publicity of an interview at Music in Portsmouth were advertised by such box office results.
For many of us of a certain age, the opening of Faure’s Dolly Suite is drenched in nostalgia for Listen with Mother on the BBC Home Service and then Radio 4 and so, yes, we were soon sitting very comfortably. It’s not possible to separate the waves of grief for lost childhood from the realization that it is a gorgeous, softly lilting tune before any associations it brings with it and then, possibly, grows up a bit through mild rhapsody to what I’d say was a tarantella of a finish.
The Waltz from Khachaturian’s Masquerade Suite was sufficiently nuanced to enhance the forte of its grand sweep as the duet swapped places, not that either the high end or low end is any more important than the other, but just in case and because they can.
Panayotis has arranged the film music of Miklos Rozsa whose credits include Ben Hur and El Cid and the Lydia Suite was as Romantic and maybe Korngold as epic film music is required to be. The Bosendorfer might have a few extra low notes but in the climax here could almost have made use of some extra top notes.
As well as their hugely enjoyable repertoire of familiar classics, Ivory Duo promote the work of two Hughs, with a new record of Hugh Shrapnel’s music due tomorrow. At the Rivoli was jazz-inflected and neat, based on its 4-note motif and Hugh Benham’s Finale grew and grew from understated origins to the biggest climax yet.
Except it wasn’t the finale and I was betting without Grieg’s Peer Gynt with its clear morning light, stillness and the jaunty attitude of its third section before Natalie’s portentous approaching footsteps came up from downstairs in In the Hall of the Mountain King before all else of it was unleashed.
An encore would have been appropriate but it was gone 2 o’clock by then and, let’s face it, the pub had been open for quite some time. I’m sure they’ll be back because they seem to like it here. Lovely people. They’ll be welcome any time.