Music for Thought

Iris C F Gomes

ProMusica brought Goa an excellent performance by musicians Rupert Boyd and Laura Metcalf on the 7th of September 2016. Western classical music is a finely nuanced art form not particularly endemic to Goa. There have been efforts to generate an interest in this genre of music but few seem interested in what is generally considered the taste of the upper classes. This is, however, a thoroughly unfair representation. It is true that some amount of education in the area does help one appreciate Western classical music more effectively. Nonetheless, a true music lover could easily tune into the notes and enjoy the musical scores despite being ignorant of the details of the same.

In Goa we are blessed to have groups like ProMusica that promote Western classical music and allow us the opportunity to experience music at a refined level. It is a pity that most Goans do not take the opportunity offered to them at a negligible cost. The audience that did take advantage of the ProMusica presented concert at Institute Menezes Braganza had a wonderful treat of a musical night with Rupert Boyd and Laura Metcalf.

Rupert Boyd was with us last year in 2015 with his exquisite classical guitar renditions. This year he made his appearance with his wife Laura as the cleverly titled act ‘Boyd Meets Girl’. Rupert Boyd is an Australian classical guitarist who has the distinction of being singled out as one of the most talented guitarists of his generations. His audience in Goa will attest to that claim. Boyd’s two solo albums Valses Poéticos and Fantasías have received rich accolades. This post graduate in music from the Manhattan School of Music has travelled four continents enthralling audiences from New Yok’s Carnegie Hall to various festivals in Europe, China, India, Nepal, the Philippines and his home country.

Laura Metcalf, who is an equally talented musician, handles the cello with aplomb. This American cellist has a reputation for her solo and chamber music the world over. She plays with the string quintet Sybarite5 who won the 2011 Concert Artists Guild Competition. Metcalf is also part of the cello and percussion quartet Break of Reality and with them she has given concerts and workshops all over the US. She has made an appearance on the David Letterman Show and Late Night with host Conan O’Brien.

The guitar and cello make an unconventional but fascinating combination of musical instruments. The duo began the concert with Radamés Gnattali’s Allegretto comodo which, unlike most of the music of the evening, was written for a guitar and cello. Radamés Gnattali was a Brazilian composer of classical and popular music.

The second piece of music was Astor Piazzolla’s second movement from his Histoire du Tango called Café, 1930 and it was written for flute and guitar. Piazzolla worked most of his life to enliven Europe and America circles of high art with the Tango of the bordellos and dance halls of Argentina.

Boyd and Metcalf enchanted their audience with a clever musical arrangement of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Two Part inventions: No 8: F Major, No 10: G Major, No 6: E Major, and No 13: A Major. Since these Inventions were meant for the piano, each instrument (guitar and cello) played the left and right hand respectively. It was challenging, no doubt, but carried out quite adeptly by the duo.

Ross Edwards is a composer from Boyd’s home country and when he was asked for a score written for guitar and cello, he adapted his work Arafura Arioso for the two stringed instruments and sent it to Boyd. The result is fascinating music that, as Boyd says, ‘…brings us the feeling of experiencing the vast expanse of Australia.’

Next the audience was treated to a series of jolly tunes from Siete Canciones Populares Españolas or Seven Spanish Folksongs (1914). Each tells a story related to love.

Pavane by Gabriel Fauré was a melodious and serene piece rearranged for cello and guitar by Boyd and Metcalf. Gabriel Fauré was French composer, pianist and organist and Pavane is one of his best known works.

The concert ended with Jaime Zenamon’s Reflexões No. 6. Zenamon is a classical guitarist and composer who was born in Bolivia.

The audience erupted with applause and called for an encore which was indicative of the success of the concert. We hope for a continuance of such Western classical concerts by ProMusica.