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On Saturday October 20, Ardrishaig Public Hall was graced by musical talents Alison McNeill and Sasha Savolini, courtesy of Mid Argyll Arts Association.
The young soprano and guitar duo’s performances have been described as ‘quality music at its best’. The pair have performed all over Scotland as well as being broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland’s Classics Unwrapped multiple times.
The afternoon started with the couple’s typical Spanish repertoire, a warm ‘Les Filles de Cadix’ that brought Bizet’s ‘Carmen’ to mind. Following Seiber’s ‘Four French Folksongs’ the audience was treated to the accomplished Savolini playing two solo pieces – originally Schubert lieder – now arranged for guitar. Although he only had six strings on his guitar, Savolini was still able to capture the rippling of water under the melody. The first act was finished with a light contrast of Scots songs including ‘Dream Angus’ and was met with murmurs of agreement in the audience.
The second act began with a piece by Marco Ramelli by the name of ‘Moon’. The text was taken from a 14th century poet yet the music was modern and fresh. After three Spanish songs by Joaquin Rodrigo during which the audience was told stories of a youthful girl’s wish to be picked as a companion for the king and a miller’s wife staying true to her husband although her offer may be tempting, the two performed three of Granados 12 Tondillas. This was followed by a sentimental and personal depiction of Spain in Granados ‘Dance Española’s No.5’ played by Sasha Savolini.
McNeill and her partner finished with two Spanish songs by Turina, the first being an earthy and dramatic prayer to the virgin of hope and the second a feisty scorned woman with underlaying tones of sadness. Yet the audience was surprised to an encore of a beautifully soft rendition ‘St Columba’s Prayer’.
This was an entertaining afternoon enjoyed by everyone in Ardrishaig Public Hall.