Musical magic was in the air when Laura van der Heijden (cello) and Alison Rhind (piano) gave a recital for Cockermouth Music Society. These two great musicians worked together in such harmony that the whole evening was one of the best musical experiences I have ever had.
Schnittke’s Suite in Old Style proved to be a good opener with an attractively baroque feel and here Laura’s instinctive shaping of phrases matched Alison’s sensitive accompaniment perfectly. A thrilling account of Beethoven’s Sonata in A (Op. 58) followed, with Laura’s formidable technique and bow arm power combining for a soaring cello line of great beauty. Glinka’s Allegro Moderato in D minor from an incomplete sonata requires considerable input from the pianist, but Alison managed it all with great manual dexterity and admirable musicianship. Rachmaninov’s great Cello Sonata in G minor was at once a fitting end and climax to the whole recital. Here both players gave such a wonderful account of beautiful music, so demanding and yet so satisfying in every way, that it brought tears to my eyes. Laura is a consummate artist who makes the cello sing as soon as she touches it, encompasses every twist and turn of the music with apparent ease and when matched by an accompanist of the calibre of Alison Rhind, produced a night of music-making long to remain in the memory.