On the last day of the first half of this year, 30th June 2019,  two young musicians, unsponsored by any supporting organisation or individual, with the gleam of artistic ardour in their eyes, and armed with the optimism of the young, presented an evening of entertainment to a small but discerning audience in the unusual venue of the recently opened piano showroom in Kolkata. A discerning audience was seated early but soon one noticed a number of appreciative young listeners standing by, listening in rapt attention.

Pallab Pramanick (violin) and Amlan Sen (piano), call themselves ‘Con amore’ and are a newly formed duo who have performed across the country individually and are passionate in their desire to share their love for music. Their performance this evening was the result of much preparation and great joy in sharing.

The Handel Sonata in G minor for violin and piano, (probably harpsichord) is in four movements. The rich tone of the grand piano was skillfully controlled to balance the ever-so-slightly shrill violin resulting in a nicely rounded Baroque sound! The communication between the performers was clearly established.

And it does not matter that the audience clapped between the four movements! This was once an accepted mode of spontaneous appreciation, more recently frowned upon by the erudite modern concert frequenter; who made this or that a rule? One would rather not break the continuity of the Sonata but let’s not still the enthusiasm of sincere appreciation!

Following Handel came Bach’s Air on the G String. A chronological step back perhaps but no less beautiful. Pallab’s eloquent bowing and Amlan’s sympathetic accompaniment was excellent. And then came Mozart! First a bouncy, joyous movement in strict sonata form, truly a work for both instruments and followed by the more sombre theme and variations.

Edward Elgar’s Salut d’amour was played with romantic finesse and preceded the robust and dramatic Scherzo by Brahms which was performed with romantic finesse and great drama until just before the ‘coda’ when with a loud ‘twang’, the A string slipped its groove and there was a shocking moment! However, loud applause allowed Pallab to fix the recalcitrant string and with a suggestion from the audience to ‘play the coda!’ they did just that. An encore request was the ever popular Kreislar and in response to a second encore request, Amlan firmly announced the National Anthem.

A better piano arrangement should be prepared for this, without too many pianistic flourishes. No need for that! A great future awaits for these musicians.

The Con amore duo performs at the Calcutta School of Music’s Sandré Hall on the 13th of July.