While the violin-playing of Ruxandra Colan was a treat in itself, the heavy choice of work she and fellow Romanian pianist Gabriela Mayer made for a Coffee Concert at Christ Church. A Schubert Sonata from his final years is depressing enough but the modernist Bax-like touches of a Szymanowski Sonata was much more like an evening concert.
It was a raw gloomy morning with leaves swirling about the Cathedral entrance and the expectation was for a light selection of work, not two full sonatas. Neither performer said a word to the audience and both are lecturers at Cork School Of Music.
The Schubert in A major was full of sad tones, a sickly sweet Scherzo and an almost dirge-like Andantino, before any life arrived in the closing Allegro.
I wanted a more Bread Beer and Circuses tone and the Szymanowski D minor sonata opened with more downer music of winter coming and the piano was dramatic and the violin expressive but almost too loud. I was sitting within six rows of the performance area as the organisers blocked off about a third of the seating to nudge the audience forward. Ruxandra Colan is an excellent violinist but for the Andantino I would have preferred her to be upstage of the piano. This Andantino saved a sad hole in my head like a Messian Quartet for the End of Time and the virtuoso work on the Finale, Allegro, was lost on me.
The audience were very warm and appreciative in their strong applause.