Music review: Duo Servais
Edinburgh International Festival Scotsman review: Duo Servais at The Hub, reviewed by Christopher Lambton
The violin and cello Duo Servais takes its name from a 19th-century Belgian cellist who was so frustrated by the lack of music for his instrument that he started composing his own.
This often proves to be a mistake. His Grand Duo de Concert on themes by Beethoven, energetically played by Amelie Bockheler and Raphaela Gromes, could have done with more Beethoven and a bit less of Adrien-Francois Servais’ histrionic elaborations.
But it was a bold start to a programme that was characterised by an unusual choice of repertoire. After a brief nod at Mozart the duo played a series of short dances written for them by Dominik Giesriegl, a young Viennese composer with an interest in film music. The dances included a Turkish Pajdusko and a Finnish tango (“don’t worry, it’s not that passionate,” said Raphaela), imaginative re-workings whose act of homage was never derivative.
Contemporary music for a string duo is unlikely to be easy listening, but these two young players from Munich clearly relished the challenge. They finished the recital with the Duo No.1 by Martinu, a composer whose rigorous anti-romanticism attracts a dwindling band of admirers. This was a wonderfully robust and bucolic piece whose spirited performance did the composer proud.
Originally published in The Scotsman