This concert was originally planned to be performed in 2020, but, like so many performances and events, was postponed. Guitarist Slava Grigoryan has played with the Southern Cross Soloists many times before, so this afternoon performance was a chance for a convivial catching-up of friends through music.

Karol Kowalik, Alex Raineri and Slava Grigoryan in SXS’s Souvenirs de Aranjuez concert. Photograph © Darren Thomas

The concert opened with a set of works labelled as being from the Spanish Baroque, although they were rather different to the pieces mentioned in their promo online. I’d been expecting de Murcia, de Ribayaz, and Matteis, and wound up with two de Murcia pieces and a piece by the (very definitely not Baroque) Mudarra. These were uniformly well played, although the Mudarra’s F# tuning made for a slightly awkward wait while Grigoryan retuned. The set was a pleasant amuse-bouche, if seemingly almost unrelated to the concert proper.

Next was a trio of Debussy Préludes, played by violinist Alan Smith and pianist Alex Raineri, which made a charming introduction to the more jazz-inflected side of harmonies for the rest...

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