Youthful, vibrant and fresh – the duo of SongHa Choi on violin and and Gorka Plada Giron on piano gave us the most delightful one hour with a bag of pleasure to listen to.
Something good always happens out of bad news! When SongHa informed us that sadly her pianist Svitlana Kosenko had been injured and was unable to perform, it was certainly not a welcoming piece of information. Cancellations by musicians do happen time to time, they are human beings just like everybody else, and we are quite used to that. Nevertheless, it can cause a certain level of distress. This time, however, by the time SongHa had informed us, she had already taken the matter in hand and professionally handled the situation by providing the name of the replacement pianist and change to the programme. As a result, we gained Gorka, and the duo with the programme change brought an indisputable success.
Four Souvenirs for Violin and Piano by Paul Shoenfield was the new addition to their programme, a suite which perhaps few have heard but which turned out to be a highlight of the concert. The rhythmical and catchy Samba saw the musicians push and pull, negotiate tosses and catches, and explore the ambiance. Through Tango the duo conveyed the exoticness by sweetly entangling the two instruments’ mellow sounds, with a hint of seduction. Square Dance was a jazzy feast which offered swinging rhythmic energy with a clean-cut sound by SongHa completed by Gorka’s equally energetic but warm approach.
Richard Wagner’s Albumblatt, arranged by August Wilhelmj, was a true melodic affair. The pure simplicity was touching and elevated the emotional level, with both musicians’ sounds so gentle and caring, showing unpretentious beauty.
Tchaikovsky’s Valse Scherzo was like a twirling wind had danced into the room. It seemed SongHa could whip this up on her fingertips; It was a masterful and skilful performance, with a lovely tone and particularly bouncy, vibrant notes on the G-string which made a beautifully engaged sonority.
All the above were preceded by Bach’s solo Sonata No.3, a 20-minute unspoiled bliss. By the time they wrapped up the concert with Kreisler’s Tambourin Chinois, the duo were met by an uproaring applause by the audience.