by Emmy Hensley
“Songs of Love & Despair is maybe a bit of a misnomer in that it’s much more about love than despair,” said Rupert Boyd regarding his musical duo’s latest album. The release from Boyd Meets Girl answered the all-encompassing.question of “What made us feel better?” — which cellist Laura Metcalf and guitarist Rupert Boyd were frequently mindful of throughout the creation of their pandemic project.
Many of the pieces featured on the album, ranging from Bach to Beyoncé, will be performed on Saturday, November 12 at 7:30 pm at Cuyahoga Community College’s Metro Campus. The concert is part of the Cleveland Classical Guitar Society’s International Series.
When Boyd and Metcalf first formed the duo, they quickly discovered that there were a limited number of compositions for their instrumentation, so the two began arranging pieces themselves. “In terms of repertoire, we love being able to play a really varied program,” said Boyd. For their upcoming concert, the pair will play arrangements of works by Florence Price, the Beatles, Caroline Shaw, and others.
When putting Songs of Love & Despair together, “it was all just repertoire that we felt we needed to play,” Boyd said. “Fortunately for us as a married couple, we could still play together daily through the lockdown, so there’s joyous Boccherini and a piece by Debussy that was originally for solo piano — we made an arrangement that feels like sunlight streaming through a window. It’s just so beautiful and it really buoyed our spirits during the pandemic.” That same thought process is applied when the duo puts concert programs together. “One of our reviews said ‘there’s something for everyone.’ And that’s what we do,” Boyd chuckled.
During their performances, Metcalf and Boyd enjoy talking to audience members and sharing what they enjoy about the works. “We love to be able to speak about the pieces, even ask for a show of hands such as ‘Who has heard of this composer?’ It’s great to create a much more engaging and interactive experience where we can speak to the crowd and feel like we’re offering them more than just the music,” Boyd said, adding that part of the conversational aspect of the concerts is in commitment to overcoming existing barriers not only across musical genres but between audiences and performers.
Saturday’s concert will be the Duo’s Cleveland debut and Metcalf and Boyd look forward to exploring the city. Recalling his past experiences, Boyd said that he is grateful to have a career as a traveling and performing musician. “I feel very lucky, I went to Nepal a few times, India a few times, and since I grew up in Australia, I try to get back there once a year and take advantage of being able to see family and friends throughout the country.”/
As for future challenges Boyd and Metcalf may face, “We’re still figuring out how to incorporate our four-year-old son into the act and into the name of our duo,” laughed Boyd.
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Published on ClevelandClassical.com November 8, 2022.
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