Last Saturday, the first day of spring, was ushered in with a thoroughly enjoyable recital at the Henderson Cultural Center at Hunt Hill Farm in New Milford. For many years the home of Ruth and Skitch Henderson has been better known as The Silo, where the culinary arts have flourished.

Recently, they have been serving up some tasteful musical events in Skitch's old studio, which is now the Henderson Museum, and full of memorabilia. The rustic woodwork creates the perfect atmosphere and acoustics for chamber music in the country.

Cellist Mary Costanza and pianist Will Duchon took advantage of the positive confluence of elements and gave a totally satisfying recital for those fortunate to be present.

Costanza opened with Suite No. 3 for unaccompanied cello, BWV 1009 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685--1750). From the opening scale, the piece allowed Costanza to bare her soul, gliding into multiple variations and demanding chords. Her sure-handed steady fingering gave resonant voice to staccato baroque passages more customarily heard on the keyboard. Completely enrapt as she played, Costanza mesmerized the intimate audience with Bach's comfort music.

Will Duchon is an accomplished pianist. His voice is also recognizable to many from his Friday night program on WMNR-FM 88.1. He let his fingers do the talking and then some, painting vivid pictures with three solo pieces composed by Claude Debussy (1862--1918).

Duchon rippled through the technically challenging "Etude pour les octaves" seemingly effortlessly. He played the sentimental waltz "La plus que lente" with expressive variations in tempo and dynamic intensity, as if gliding across a ballroom, approaching and departing from different dancers.

The fluid and breezy "L'isle joyeuse" had smooth waves of sound and brilliant flashes of light, creating an idyllic atmosphere without any specific agenda, no small accomplishment.

Darker tones were on display as Costanza and Duchon combined for Sonata in G minor, Op. 19 by Sergei Rachmaninov (1873--1945). Cello and piano were on equal footing with intense interplay and torrid exchanges. Costanza's cello would introduce lyrical themes that Duchon would embellish, displaying his affinity to the agitated rumblings of Rachmaninov. The romantic andante was particularly beautiful, and there was fire in the final arpeggios.

After the recital, Ruth Henderson said that her late husband was a great fan of Rachmaninov and that Skitch and Sergei were both smiling. With all the photos, posters, airplanes, and bomber jackets on display, one felt as if Skitch were there, too.

A cordial reception followed with hors d'oeuvres baked at The Silo. It's always a treat to discover something new in a familiar setting.

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