Antara Duo bring old friends and new aquaintances


The excellent Antara Duo are Thomas Hancox on flute and Rachel Wick on harp, writes Judi Moore.

They like to introduce the music they play, which I always find adds to my enjoyment. Mr Hancox joked at one point that if he didn’t get on and play, the intro would be longer than the three-minute piece coming up.

The music was by 20th century composers Astor Piazzolla, Hendrik Andriessen, Gabriel Fauré, Arnold Bax, Jean-Michel Damase, Claude Debussy and François Borne and comprised an excellent ratio of old friends to new acquaintances.

Modern music is not much given to billowing cadenzas – which one might expect from the flute, with its penchant for imitating birdsong, and the harp, with its sweeping arpeggios. We began, spikily against type, with Piazzolla’s Histoire du Tango, charting the development of the dance through the 20th century. Later they gave us the well-known and luscious Sicilienne by Fauré, arranged for themselves by the players. I mention this piece particularly because Mr Hancox told us something I hadn’t known hitherto, viz: that Fauré was going deaf when he wrote this, so the material sits in the middle of the range, which he could still hear, as it is the top and bottom which one loses first.

They ended with a fine, fiery arrangement (theirs) of an arrangement (Borne’s) of Carmen. But it was the delightful Down by the Sally Gardens which they played as an encore which stole my heart.

I have stolen a few words from this review to mention what’s up-coming. Jong-Gyung Park played for LBMC in 2012 and was a delight. On March 21 she is returning with her husband to perform piano duets, including Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring in its authentic duet version. Not to be missed.