Sunday, 18 January 2015

Appassionata! Alex Knight & Suki Trussler together Third & Final Guitar & Flute Duo Recital for 2014 at Tati Dennehy's 'Jellyfish' Exhibition Buckfastleigh Tuesday 23 December 2014

Alex Knight & Suki Trussler
Appassionata Duo - Guitarist & Flautist

Nathilde Overrein Rapp
Norwegian Film Director

Founder of Jellyfish Productions

Jellyfish Studio
In September 2012 a new musical duo appeared in concert in Budleigh and Sheldon. Alex Knight and Suki Trussler put on a two concerts of guitar and flute duets which were very popular. Then came the sad news. Suki and her husband Nick were already committed to a long term project in Berlin, founding a new music school.

Now, two years later, the project is complete and Suki and Ian are back in England - living in Buckfastleigh. Suki has returned and rehearsals with Alex, who lives in Totnes. Their repertoire now includes many additional baroque and romantic duets.

Nick, it just so happens, is a recording engineer in addition to his many teaching and management qualifications. He makes many recordings for his education company "Solutions4Content". It was a simple matter for Nick to get together with Alex and Suki at the end of last year to create their first album of music.

Beautiful Artwork by Tati Dennehy
To hear clips, or order a copy of any of Alex or Suki's albums, there is a Website for "Alex Knight & Suki Trussler", and a new "Appassionata Duo" website under construction.

The duo's first return concert was at St Edmund's, Kingsbridge, on Friday 19 December, and repeated at St Marychurch, Torquay, on Saturday 20 December.

St Marychurch Church has an impressive acoustic, particularly suited to their music, and it is a pity the concert was not recorded. The seasonal pressures meant many people missed both concerts and everyone hoped there might be one more chance to hear the duo.

Room for one more . . .
The good news was that Suki had made a new friend in Buckfastleigh - and another chance to play for her very appreciative fans.

Next the Buckfastleigh Town Hall, a single room has been taken over by Norwegian film producer Nathilde Overrein Rapp. The small space is filled with sculptures and paintings by local artists and open to the public 12-6pm Tuesday-Friday and 4-8pm on Saturdays. A plaque and metal sculpture at the gate let you know you've arrived - at "Jellyfish Productions".

Inside there is enough space for an audience of about fifty people, and on the evening of Tuesday 23 December the hall was packed. Nathilde's publicity in Buckfastleigh had brought in many fans, and there was standing room only for the late arrivals.

In the intimate space, guests crowded round to share Nathilde's food and drink and to admire the many artworks on display in the studio. Despite the crush, not one table was nudged nor any sculpture dislodged.

Suki plays alto flute under Tati's Christmas fairy
With everyone in place, some sitting on a bed, some among the coats at the door, Alex and Suki began with Vivaldi's Concerto in D. After one movement Suki had to admit that, far from being cold on that dark December night, the room was becoming over-warm from the press of people. All heating had to switched off and the doors opened. Everyone basked in the natural warmth of companionship and beautiful music.

Two more movements of Vivaldi gave way to Bach's "Sicilliana", and Handel's "Harmonious Blacksmith". From baroque, the duo then leapt forward to the romantic music of the nineteenth century. Two Spanish pieces by Isaac Albeniz and Enrique Granados ("Tango" and "Playera") were followed by French music by Gabriel Fauré and Jacques Ibert ("Pavane" and "Entr'Acte") separated by a special arrangement by Suki for alto flute of Christopher Gunning's theme tune for the ITV series "Agatha Christie's Poirot".

Alex plays the lute music of Robert Johnson
The Entr'Acte led naturally to an interval with more food and drink, and many positive comments about the music. After the break we were back at the beginning of the seventeenth century with Robert Johnson's "Alman" for lute, played very deftly by Alex on a modern Spanish guitar. The baroque mood continued with Domenico Scarlatti's "Flute Sonata in A", and Johann Sebastian Bach's "Prelude in C" arranged for guitar - with Charles Gounod's additional words to the "Ave Maria" sung by Suki on her flute.

In an echo of the Bach Sicilliana, the duo played Fauré's "Sicilienne" and three new compositions. "Peacock's Parade" by Totnes guitarist Chris Glassfield, followed by "Back to the Sea" and a variation on Canadian composer François Dompierre's "Tango", both by Suki herself.

Appassionata Duo
Having got the audience in the mood for tango, the duo finished with the greatest tango of all - by the king of tango himself, Argentine bandoneon master Ástor Piazzolla - his 1974 radio commission "Libertango".

Everyone was left wanting more - and hugely impressed by the extensive exhibition of art in the beautiful studio. Congratulations to Alex Knight and Suki Trussler for such spectacular music, and to Nathilde Overrein Rapp for her sensational displays of art.

There will be more "Appassionata" concerts in the spring of 2015, and "Jellyfish Productions" looks favourite as one of the venues. Any details will go straight to the "Classical Journey Concerts" blog.

Meanwhile on the "Redux Classical Journey", broadcast on Soundart Radio this Sunday, 18 January, 3-6pm, there is a chance to hear some of the fabulous music that thrilled that Buckfastleigh audience at the Jellyfish studio at Christmas. Soundart broadcasts on 102.5FM to the South Hams of Devon and can be heard by live stream by opening the Soundart Radio Website - or going directly to the Soundart Radio Player.

There will be more "Appassionata" on the regular "Classical Journey" on Phonic FM in Exeter on Tuesday 20 January 10-12am (a special programme concentrating on Exeter University Chapel Choir). 106.8FM in Exeter and online via the Phonic FM Website or Phonic FM Player.

Tati Dennehy
Tati Dennehy
Jackie Juno: poetry
Jackie Juno: paintings
Linda Hill: Etchings
Rosamund Woodhead:

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