Feedback from audiences and readers

How I would like to capture the reaction in real-time rather than trying to recall it after the concert! A few ladies in the audience remembered that we had performed there a year ago and pointed to the chairs where we had sat and conversed well after the concert over wine and cheese.

While live feedback is great, we also get emails from those who have seen our youtube clips and perused our website.

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After our concert in Bloemendaal (near Haarlem in the Netherlands), I mentally told myself to remember the reaction of the audience.

The lady who thanked us on behalf of everyone said, “We don’t hear the piano and guitar a lot — an unusual combination. Sometimes it sounds like a real orchestra!” The piano and the guitar, being polyphonic instruments, can sound like multiple instruments, unlike single voiced instruments. But to sound like an orchestra — that’s a compliment indeed!

Our guest, an art history professor from the mid-West (United States), exclaimed, “It was very exciting… intense… and emotional (for me). In the Vivaldi, I heard both of you as one instrument when you were playing together — totally in sync.”

She said that the 90-year old lady sitting adjacent, who was hard of seeing but not hard of hearing, had remarked during the concert that the music was very difficult to play

How I would like to capture the reaction in real-time rather than trying to recall it after the concert! A few ladies in the audience remembered that we had performed there a year ago and pointed to the chairs where we had sat and conversed well after the concert over wine and cheese. I, for one, was grateful for the glass of cool white wine, on such a warm Saturday afternoon in mid-spring.

While live feedback is rewarding due to the immediacy and spontaneity, we also get emails from those who have seen our youtube clips and perused our website. Usually they write to request for sheet music or CD. And I linger a bit before composing an appropriate reply as to why we don’t have sheet music or CD to send.

Here are several recent ones, copied and pasted below, to add to the feedback page.

Hello, I´m writing from Argentina to tell you I´ve seen your page and I liked very much your performances. I also have a guitar & piano duet so we´re interested in your transcriptions we can´t get because of the reduced repertory for guitar and piano (at least comparing with others duets). As we live in Argentina it´s a bit difficult to get that kind of scores. We wanted to ask you if you could send to this e-mail some of the works you play together (original or transcriptions) in PDF format.

Thanks, you´re a great duet.

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I have been watching your videos and reading about your duo, and I have to admit, I have had a very hard time finding music for piano and guitar that isn’t something between rock and roll and jazz as well. I don’t mind playing that kind of music, in fact I have a lot of fun playing it, but I’ve been looking for a classical repertoire with my friend for a piano guitar duo for some time now. and so I just wanted to ask you, would there be anyway to know if it is possible for me to acquire some of the sheet music you play? or even ideas for where I should look for it? Thank you very much for you time.

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My girlfriend and I are finishing our studies at the academy. She is playing piano and I am a guitarist. So, since our final exam is in June, I am begging you to send us some pdf sheet music for piano and guitar duo. We heard how you play Erik Otte’s composition and it was breathtaking! Something like that or Piazzolla maybe woud be perfect. Please, have in mind that we can’t find any sheet music here.

Your followers!
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I bought your piano solos cd some years ago, and now, having found your site again, am wondering if you have any recordings of your piano guitar duo available for purchase?

Thank you very much for your attention to this,

Concert in Bennebroek

Bennebroek was the smallest municipality in the Netherlands before it merged with Bloemendaal, an extremely affluent area known for its hockey club. Probably formed in the 13th century, Bennebroek now serves as a commuter town for nearby cities of Haarlem and Bloemendaal.

Today was another fine spring day to make me forget that there ever was a long winter and all the indoor existence from October to March was worth the wait for today’s flawless weather.

What to wear? Good question. I still insisted on tights, a long sleeved dress, and a silk scarf to cover my entire body, including my neck and four limbs. The usual routine seemed risk averse in this spring weather. It did feel warm enough though to put away my Barbour jacket in favour of my Laura Ashley cotton coat hibernating in the loft.

I woke up too late to practise piano but didn’t mind too much because it was to be a short concert at a psychiatric clinic in a village I had never heard of before. Only 45 minutes instead of the usual 2 x 30 minutes or 1 hour concert of our most popular programme (reduced by two or three movements) —- it should be easy. I didn’t bother to read our Maandrooster (month schedule) what sort of piano and concert hall awaited us. After recent disappointments, I expected very little, if anything at all.

On the drive north towards Amsterdam and west towards Haarlem, I shared a pre-packed brunch of sandwiches and carrot cake with the guitarist. It was well past rush hour (10:45 am), and the journey to Bennebroek should be without interruption.

Bennebroek was the smallest municipality in the Netherlands before it merged with Bloemendaal, an extremely affluent area known for its hockey club. Probably formed in the 13th century, Bennebroek now serves as a commuter town for nearby cities of Haarlem and Bloemendaal.

To my surprise, we arrived at a big church (pictured below). I did not expect a church nor one in such picturesque surroundings. As the previous time we played in a psychiatric centre was unpleasant, I had mentally tried to block out the low ceilings and temporary location. A beautiful church was the last thing I expected today.

Church in Bennebroek, Netherlands
Church in Bennebroek, Netherlands

Halfway from the car to the church, we met a man smoking a cigarette. He introduced himself and shook our hands. It was 11:40 am. He had been expecting us.

Close-up of church in Bennebroek, Netherlands
Close-up of church in Bennebroek, Netherlands

Inside the big church hid even more surprises: a beautiful Bechstein grand piano on a stage. The 6 to 7 ft piano looked extremely familiar, like the 1920’s 5’6″ German piano I owned in London. It must be around 100 years old, I thought. Indeed I later read that it was built in 1910. Something about old German grand pianos makes me feel instantly at ease.

Organ and piano in Bennebroek church, Netherlands
Organ and piano in Bennebroek church, Netherlands

The man then led us to a big meeting room behind the stage which would serve as our changing room. He pointed to a big covered box containing sandwiches for lunch. This was most unusual as we never get more than refreshments and a tiny snack.

Before changing and donning make-up, we wanted to test the acoustics — as usual and as always. Unlike the previous two venues with dry acoustics, the hall had ample reverberation, typical of large churches. This meant that the guitar would sound very powerful and beautiful on its own. And equally so, the grand piano, but it would be not as easy to hear each other when we played together.

Indeed once we started playing, we found it impossible to stop. The sound was too beautiful. The combination of great acoustics and great instruments made us feel very free to play. [And I would say, if you want to lure musicians to play for you — give them these two things.]

At the end of our 45 minute concert, those that were not in wheelchairs stood up and applauded. The man who took care of us earlier then walked on stage with two fat bouquets and a beaming smile.

The day was too perfect to waste. We took our lunch in the gardens of this church. It was a rare occasion to have time to enjoy the good weather without rushing to our next appointments. And now was the time to test my mobile phone for good photos to remember by.

As we left the premises, we waved goodbye to the daffodils that adorned this village.

Daffodils outside the church in Bennebroek, Netherlands
Daffodils outside the church in Bennebroek, Netherlands

Larger photos of Bennebroek can be viewed here.