The varied programme enabled the audience to enjoy the musical artistry of the outstanding ensemble Duo Paganini – named after one of the greatest violin virtuosi of all time, Niccolò Paganini (1782 – 1840). South African born Ian van Rensburg and Danish born Søren Bodker Madsen have been playing together for ten years and the sympathetic and sensitive response of one to the other was clearly evident.
The programme opened with a Sonata for Violin and Guitar by Venetian composer Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1751) with attractive melodic lines that must have featured in many chamber music contexts at the time and subsequently. This was followed by two Centoni Sonatas (meaning ‘a medley of tunes’) for Violin and Guitar by Paganini who, renowned for his own performing skill on the violin, composed music that only he and very few of his contemporaries could manage! However, the use of Paganini’s special techniques was made to look so easy by the skilful and musical Duo Paganini. A dramatic change of atmosphere followed with a ballad for Guitar composed and played by Søren Bodker Madsen. Its twentieth-century atmosphere was apparent and I had the feeling that it could best be described as a beautiful ‘Song without Words’.
The second half of the recital opened with a work by the contemporary Argentinean composer Astor Piazzolla (1921- ) – an exciting, vibrant tango incorporating an appealing theme. This was followed by two characteristic Spanish Dances by composer/violinist Pablo de Sarasate (1844-1908). The recital ended with a ‘fun’ piece entitled ‘Banjo and Fiddle’ by the American William Kroll (1901-1980).
The two artists were rewarded with a well deserved standing ovation.