CELLIST Laura van der Heijden made a name for herself when she won the BBC Young Musician Competition in 2012, and in performances since has developed a distinct ability to communicate with audiences.

As in a previous appearance at Harrogate’s Wesley Centre she was accompanied by Alison Rhind whose sensitive piano playing was a perfect foil for the rich sounding cello.

Their nicely varied programme began with Schnittke’s Suite in the Old Style, a sequence of pieces based on his film music and including a busy Balletto, a refreshing Menuetto and a Fuga with a lovely mix of the delicate and the sweeping with pianist and cellist demonstrating a tremendous unanimity throughout.

Schubert’s Sonata, originally written for the now obsolete Arpeggione, received a most convincing performance with parts of the lovely Adagio played with the utmost tenderness.

In James MacMillan’s short devotional Kiss on Wood, both players exploited the sounds quite movingly with notes and chords often hanging suspended in the air.

It ends so delicately that the audience was urged not to applaud when it finished and instead, after a suitably reflective pause, the musicians moved gently into Rachmaninov’s rhapsodic Vocalise.

Finally we heard a superbly balanced performance of Beethoven’s Sonata No. 3 for Cello and Piano, Op. 69, including an all too brief Adagio cantabile and some beautifully sonorous playing.

Sowerby Music’s next recital on November 14 features Onyx Brass with baritone Mark Stone; details at sowerbymusic.org.uk.

Peter Bevan