Shropshire Music Trust’s new season started yesterday with a lunch-time concert at the Lion Hotel. The musicians were flautist Yu-Wei Hu and theorbo player Johan Lofving: the Flauguissimo Duo. This talented pair presented a programme entitled “The English and French Gardens”. Their Baroque pieces were a delight from start to finish; the opening work was a sonata by Couperin while the recital ended with a sonata by J.H. Roman, recognisably influenced by his time studying with Handel in London.
The Duo gave witty, informative introductions to the music as well as brief histories of their instruments. Yu-Wei Hu played a modern facsimile of a Baroque flute; her sound was exquisite and her finger work was most impressive. Her phrasing was delicate, often carefully nuanced; on occasions, when a phrase was repeated two or three times, each repetition received subtle variations of emphasis.
Johan’s theorbo, a relation of the guitar, had a phenomenal range from the deepest bass upwards. “Canario” by Kapsberger was the only solo work for the theorbo; the audience was spellbound by the composition. Canario is the name of an Italian and Portuguese dance step, a lively one!
Elsewhere, the musicians duetted, revealing an amazing rapport and virtuosity; the flute had a beautiful, silken tone, especially in the slow movements and they brought out the contrasting nature of the formal French music, written for salon performances as compared to the English works, often intended for outdoor events.
This was a very fine recital, the first in an eclectic season for the Music trust. It was followed by the Duo giving well received performances at two care homes, a valuable part of the outreach programme.