Matthew McAllister

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The members of the Forfar Arts Guild were treated to a wonderful recital on Thursday 24th January, given by the cellist Robert Irvine and the guitarist Matthew McAllister.

The Meffan Hall, liberally decorated by many portraits and other pictures, was an admirable place for such an event, much appreciated by the large number of members who attended.

It was very thoughtful of Robert to give an introdution before each piece played; some pieces were fairly familar, such as the “Valse Sentimental” by Tchaikovsky or the “Swan” by Saint-Saens, but some, I reckon, were totally unknown to most. How many knew of composers called “Zenamon” or “Domeniconi”, for instance? Robert did mention that some of these lesser-known works were obscure in the extreme, and not at all easy to follow, but nevertheless they were well worth listening to. And they were!

Throughout the whole recital, both Robert and Matthew displayed not only very high levels of musicianship, but quite excellent togetherness; they clearly relished playing. But as well as playing together, they gave three “solos” – Robert played part of one of the very well-known solo cello suites by Bach, and Matt played various guitar pieces, one in particular known to be a favourite piece of Segovia’s.

One of Robert’s introductions was just before they played a sonata by Vivaldi; he mentioned that the cello that he was using was made at about the very time that Vivaldi was writing the sonata (probably in the 1730s), which surely enhanced his devotion to that piece, and indeed to all of Vivaldi’s works.

How lucky the Guild is, to be able to have such distinguished musicians playing for us; but not only that, they clearly relished being with us!

Hilary Foxworthy The Courier