Despite the unfavourable weather conditions many members and friends braved the elements to attend the March meeting - a recital by Margeta Nadvornikova (violin) and Charles Matthews (piano). Marketa was born in Prague and began playing the violin at the age of five. In 2011 when aged fifteen she studied at the Prague Conservatoire and, after winning many competitions, she decided to continue her training at the Conservatoire in Birmingham. She is now in her final year before undertaking professional appearances. Charles Matthews has performed extensively as pianist and organist; in 1999 he won 1st prize in the Franz Liszt Organ Interpretation Competition in Budapest. He is organist of St. Catharine’s Church in Chipping Camden and is a tutor of piano and organ at the Birmingham Conservatoire.
The recital began with the 1st movement of Mozart’s Violin Concerto in G major which immediately demonstrated Marketa’s technical skills, particularly in the demanding coda section where she tackled the double and triple stopping with complete assurance. “From the Homeland” by Smetana, with moments of “longing” for home was followed by Dvorak’s “Romance in F minor” with lovely melodic phrases and then his rhythmically energetic “Mazurek”; all three works demonstrating the influence of Bohemian national folk music on the works of Smetana and Dvorak.
After the interval a short organ fugue in Bb major by another Bohemian composer, Johann Baptist Wanhal. Written in the Baroque style this provided an interesting contrast before hearing Janacek’s Sonata for Violin and Piano. Although there were hints of folk music in this work, one could begin to see also the influence of the early 20th century. The final item was the 1st movement of Dvorak’s Violin Concerto, an exciting and dazzling performance to end an evening in which the two instruments were equal partners, the synchronisation was superb, and Marketa and Charles’ pleasure in performing was suitably rewarded by rapturous applause from the delighted audience.