When thinking of Spanish music, guitar is the first instrument that comes to mind, but Emily Granger (harp) and Jonathan Henderson (flute) throw a serious challenge to this stereotype with a match made in music heaven in Spanish Souvenirs.
The Spanish Souvenirs’ concert in the beautiful Old Government House at the weekend was the sixth performance in their current Australian tour. The concert brought together a selection of Spanish classical music, inspired by Jacques Ibert’s “Entr’acte.” It was nearly impossible to pick a favourite among the pieces chosen for this program. The pair effortlessly complemented each other, building from the introduction of “Entr’acte” into drifty melodies of Maurice Ravel, to the Spanish folk dances by Manuel de Falla, to Isaac Albeniz’s “Recuerdos de Viaje”, and to Marin Marais’s “Les Folies d’Espagne”.
It is hard to believe these two musicians only formed their partnership last year; their connection in performance is second to none. The fluttering sounds of the flute responded beautifully to the melodic plucking of the harp’s strings, transporting the audience into a fantasy of a chirping sparrow chatting excitedly with a running brook.
Marais’ “Les Folies d’Espagne” for solo flute reveals Henderson’s virtuosity and exposes the demanding physicality of the deceptively small instrument. After this solo adventure of ‘the sparrow’, he is reunited with ‘the running brook’, rejoicing in their playful musical adventure for the final pieces of the program. Finishing with the familiar melodies in ‘Fantasie Brilliante on Themes from Carmen’ by Francois Borne and Georges Bizet, Granger and Henderson left the audience uplifted and wanting more.