Over a few decades, I’ve written the occasional short duo for string instruments, thinking “one day this’ll come in handy”. But I certainly wasn’t thinking “…thanks to a deadly international pandemic”. However, it’s certainly the case that small scale music has come to the fore online in recent times, and an “orchestra” of, say, two violins seems to be the easiest of all to assemble at the moment.
So it is that I’ve been receiving frequent news about my duo album Atlantic Drift. This month, violinists Malin Broman and Tobias Granmo performed it at Gothenburg’s stylish Frontside Festival, followed just across the North Sea by Marie Schreer and John Garner in Newcastle’s The Globe. Marie and John, whose duo is called Mainly Two, could well be the doyenne/doyen of two-violin music, with a truly huge range of repertoire, and their World Tour (on YouTube) is highly recommended.
Meanwhile, news of another upcoming Atlantic Drift evening, moved by necessity from the live stage to the virtual, as part of Madeleine Mitchell’s livestreamed recital for International Women’s Day in March. (It’s mostly thanks to Madeleine’s 2017 CD recording that anyone knows about this composition at all.) And finally for this month, the welcome appearance on YouTube of my most recent duo, For Friendship (2019, for violin and viola) double-tracked by American violinist Roger Zahab, the first recording of this newish piece I’ve yet heard.
Pictured : Two Piece Reclining Figure No 3, by Henry Moore, a fixture of my daily dog walk across the Brandon Estate in Southwark.