THE second week of Lake District Summer Music offered more festival début concerts by young artists at the beginning of their professional careers, writes CLIVE WALKLEY. So week two saw the appearance of bassoonist, Catriona McDermid, and her accompanist, Jonathan Musgrave, in Ambleside Parish Church on the Tuesday, followed, on the Wednesday morning in Ambleside Parish Centre, by the young cellist, Eliza Millet, with Norwegian pianist, Thormod Rønning Kvan.

Catriona McDermid’s well-chosen programme revealed what a versatile instrument the bassoon is. The cheeky side of the instrument’s sound was fully demonstrated in works like the French composer Jean Françaix’s Petit divertissement militaire and Weber’s Rondo Ungarese. But, as Catriona demonstrated in her choice of works by Arnold Cooke, Elgar and Mozart, the bassoon can sing; and, in spite of its size, in the right hands it is also a very versatile instrument, fully capable of rapid passage work as Catriona demonstrated at many points in her most enjoyable recital. Her pianist, Jonathan Musgrave, gave her firm support as her accompanist and also contributed two solo pieces by Debussy. In his verbal presentation he was a little apologetic but his playing was sensitive and powerful, particularly in Debussy’s well-known La cathédrale engloutie.

Cellist, Eliza Millet, is still completing her master’s degree at the Royal Academy of Music but her playing has already reached a fully professional standard. She began her recital with Beethoven’s fifth cello sonata, a powerful piece which is both technically and musically demanding for both cellist and pianist. Eliza, and her accompanist, Thormod Rønning Kvan, are both powerful players and met the challenges of the work convincingly. Eliza then followed this with a piece for unaccompanied cello by the contemporary Latvian composer Pëteris Vasks. The piece demands a wide range of techniques and also calls upon the player to sing as she plays. Eliza did this beautifully revealing what a thoroughly accomplished musician she is.

Works by Franck Bridge, Mark-Anthony Turnage and, finally, Prokofiev followed. This was a demanding programme for two young artists but throughout the players worked in equal partnership to produce a fine recital. It is unfortunate, however, that the recital had to take place in Ambleside Parish Centre which does not have the best acoustic properties for a recital of this nature. The powerful sound of both cello and piano bounced off the wooded walls in an uncomfortable way. Both of these fine young players deserve to be heard in a more spacious acoustic in order for their audience to be able to absorb their sound in a more comfortable way.