AYSGARTH church was filled with the emotions of two great composers during the brilliant and mesmerising concert by Alicja Fiderkiewicz.

As she played Schubert’s final sonata, she shared with her audience his ability to immortalise the anguish of soul experienced by those in the throes of terminal illness – and their special joy at still being able to experience the beauty of this world.

Schubert died, aged 35, just months after composing the Piano Sonata No 21 in B flat Major. The performance was particularly poignant as the concert was dedicated to Alicja’s much-loved uncle who had died the previous week in Warsaw.

After the interval, during which women of the church provided refreshments, Alicja took us beautifully into the inspirational world of Chopin.

This journey began with her deeply textured rendition of his Three Nocturnes the most famous of which being the Andante in E flat major.

This was followed by a truly romantic Romanza (Concerto in E Minor) heightened by some delicate and moving playing. Alicja used Chopin’s own piano version and so took us even closer to this great composer.

Then came the Polonaise-fantasie, where yet again there was that brooding, deeply contemplative mood of a man nearing the end of his life. Chopin did not, however, descend into melancholy but produced an enthralling and uplifting masterpiece, so well interpreted by Alicja.

One person commented after the concert: “It was a very special, brilliant event.”

So it is not surprising that afterwards many of the audience were determined to make sure they did not miss any of the future events organised by Carol Haynes of Carperby in her Wensleydale Concerts Series. These will often be at Aysgarth Church as the acoustics, wherever one sits, are so good.

The next in the series is on Friday, November 27, a fascinating journey in song with the Melicus Duo. This will be a return visit for pianist Nico de Villiers, this time accompanying soprano Marie Vassilou. For information, see wensleydaleconcertseries.co.uk.

Pip Land