If the 100th Gala concert was the most joyful celebratory occasion, so was the 101th recital! For this season-opening concert of what we call "the most normal season after the pandemic", we were delighted that the typical Breinton-style buzz was back. The audience was ready for this wonderful music performed in our intimate setting; they were attentive, enthusiastic, curious and greedy. And the Abbate-Perkins Duo of Emma Abbate and Julian Perkins did the perfect job to satisfy our enthusiasm and quench the thirst we had craved since March 2020.

The main attraction of the first half was Schubert’s Fantasia in F minor. The first movement started off more slowly than most versions I have heard of this piece, as if breathing in and storing the feeling to get ready for the utterly beautiful theme to be voiced and sung. Sincere to the score and never heavily relying on the pedals, they created their original tonal world. How fascinating it was to hear everything that was happening, every single note, chord, intertwined passage. It was as if we were witnessing an arresting tragic-romantic love story. The second half consisted of composers I was not particularly familiar with, Lambert and Barber, but what a delightful mood uplifters. Barber’s Souvenirs was quirky, rhythmical and fun; the Duo created the exact atmosphere for each piece, displaying a wide range of tones and nuances, which stimulated our imagination.