The final concert of the season, brought to us by the Scott Brothers Duo on Thursday 27 April, was a feast of virtuosity and fine musicianship. As a piano-duet team, Jonathan and Tom Scott are always in perfect synchrony, bending and shaping the rhythms as if in one mind. The vast screen, projecting the four hands on the keyboard, obliged us to watch the show as well as listen: for show it was, the pianists expressing their own enjoyment and not afraid to crack jokes in their personable introductions. The programme, too, was blatantly popular, including the William Tell overture, Saint-Saëns’ Danse Macabre and Liszt’s second Hungarian Rhapsody; but behind the showmanship was a strong sense of musical direction, and despite all the excitement the piano was always allowed to sing – there was hardly any thumping of the keyboard even in the loudest passages. Schubert’s perennial Fantasy in F minor began with a perfectly judged tempo – not too slow – and its ‘scherzo’ section was scintillating. The choice of generally fast tempos gave coherence to this ‘four-movements-in-one’ fantasia. Then came Jonathan’s own arrangement of Tarrega’s famous Recuerdos de la Alhambra in which the guitar ‘tremoli’ were magically replicated by Jonathan’s agile fingers, while Tom created a magical, exotic atmosphere from the accompaniment. After the interval we heard a 19th century arrangement of the first movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, followed by Reger’s arrangement of Bach’s famous Prelude and Fugue in A minor, the organ tones replicated by much doubling of solo lines (in perfect synchrony) and rich fillings.
That afternoon, The Scott Brothers Duo performed to a packed Forum auditorium from 12 local schools, presenting a unique musical experience for the children. Their programme items were illustrated on the big screen using Tom Scott’s animations, which considerably enhanced the enjoyment of all (adults included!). Comments from those present included:
‘I really liked the animations as they helped me to understand the music’ ‘ …they matched the music. My favourite piece was The Swan from Carnival of the Animals’ ‘The animations were exactly in time with the music – I thought you were superheroes!’ ‘How fast you played was absolutely flabbergasting! Thank you for an amazing show.’