AN audience of dedicated guitar-lovers packed into Wesley Music Centre on Friday night for a recital by Manhattan-based Australian guitarist Rupert Boyd and American cellist Laura Metcalf.In the audience were members of the Canberra Classical Guitar Society and the distinguished guitarist Timothy Kain, Boyd’s former teacher at the ANU School of Music and mentor to a generation of prize-winning exponents of this instrument.
Boyd, born and bred in Canberra, was obviously on his home turf as he joined with Metcalf in quietly introducing each piece.
Although he managed to mention the election three times, he called the evening an “election-free concert” and on the whole it was.
A combination of guitar and cello, it turns out, is so unusual that it had sent the duo in search of rare compositions and unusual arrangements.
On the whole program, as far as I could make out, the only composition written especially for this combination was the opening work, “Allegretto comodo” from the Sonata for Guitar and Violoncello by Brazilian composer, Radamés Gnattali.
Initially Metcalfe’s cello tended to dominate Boyd, but that balance returned quickly as the pair performed works by Piazzolla, Janáček, Ross Edwards and Tchaikovsky.
Boyd and Metcalf reached a perfect balance in their exquisite performance of “Arafura Arioso” from Concerto for Guitar and Strings by Ross Edwards, rearranged by Edwards especially for this tour.
The first half concluded with three pieces by Tchaikovsky, culminating in a lively scherzo.
The second half showed just what a beautifully programmed concert this was, with powerful works by Arvo Pärt, Schubert and JS Bach at the centre and a gentle conclusion with a set of songs by Manuel de Falla, prefaced by quietly whimsical descriptions of each by Boyd.
This gentle, refined recital it is to be seen in seven other cities, but it was a fitting “back to the hometown” visit here by one of Canberra’s favourite sons.