Sheku Kanneh-Mason & Isata Kanneh-Mason, Queen’s Hall * * *
This was when it truly sprang to life, with performances of Fauré’s song-like Elégie and Mendelssohn’s life-affirming Cello Sonata No 2 that had all the depth of expression, wholeness of tone and self-belief from cellist Sheku that had only periodically surfaced in the first half.
The Fauré cast a dreamy spell, setting the capacity audience up for the light-spirited Mendelssohn, it’s galloping opening Allegro neatly offset by the Scherzando’s delicate wit, the singularity of purpose in the Adagio a magical springboard to the sheer exuberance displayed in the finale.
In fairness, the first half had ended on an optimistic note. Where the concert-openers – the Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen Variations by Beethoven and Lutoslawski’s ruminative Grave – shifted in and out of focus with Sheku prone to moments of tonal introspection, Debussy’s Cello Sonata inspired a sudden transformation.
Here greater effusiveness and spontaneity took hold, from the piano’s opening rhetoric and cello’s blissful retrospection, to the Puckish charm of the Sérénade and breezy inevitability of the Finale.
But it was the later performances, encores included, that did this duo most justice.