It was good to be at the first Fringe performance of two American musicians who had flown in to Edinburgh less than twenty four hours earlier. For one, it was the first visit to the United Kingdom. Rune Lacuna is Professor of Piano at the University of Iowa in Iowa City and this is where Hannah Holman was on the music faculty for ten years.
If first impressions count, a combination of Hannah Holman's grandmother's Becker cello of 1925 and the opening bars of Beethoven gave us an immediate appreciation of the mellow tones for which a cello is so good.
The four movements of Beethoven's Sonata for Piano and Cello began with Allegro ma non troppo, when Hannah and pianist Réne seemed extraordinarily serious. But as the Scherzo followed they relaxed and were able to smile. Many months of preparation for Edinburgh 2016 must have suddenly come real.
After a brief intermission Hannah and Réne asked the audience whether anybody knew the name of the composer whose work they were about to play. Had there been an organist in the audience that might have been likely. Léon Boëllmann (September 25, 1862 – October 11, 1897) was a French composer of Alsatian origin and yet when they had played his piano and cello concerto for an audience in a French chateau days earlier nobody had heard it before. I enjoyed it and was pleased to have heard it, but the earlier Beethoven is what I'll remember.
Performance: Tuesday 9th August 2016 at 12:30