The last three concerts in this year’s Gaulitana Festival in Gozo had a link between them. It began with the violin and piano recital by the Gran Duo Italiano, consisting of Mauro Tortorelli (violin) and Angela Meluso (piano) at the Gozo Ministry hall.

They launched into this memo­rable concert with Franck’s Violin Sonata in A, for which I have a deep predilection. It was simply superb, exquisitely performed and, of course, it provides parity of prominence to both performers.

It needs two master musicians and a special rapport between the two. This was almost tangible and I was not at all surprised to find out after the recital that the two musicians are husband and wife.

The duo also has at heart the promotion of works by unjustly neglected past violinist virtuo­so-composers. It was, therefore, not surprising that they performed a delightful Fiori di Napoli by Camillo Sivori, Paganini’s only pupil, and Rosario Scalero (1870-1954)’s Variazioni sul Barucabà di Paganini.

They concluded with Castel­nuovo-Tedesco’s Capitan Fracassa, Op. 15, maintaining a very stylish delivery that characterises their music-making.

The warm appreciation of the audience paid dividends with the two encores that ensued. The first was Elgar’s popular Salut d’Amour, while the second was the prolific and long-lived Gaetano Fusella (1876-1972)’s Mazurka Svedese.

The duo had a rest on the Sa­turday when, as part of the festival weekend’s activities, the programme included a very tasty experience at Vini e Capricci, thanks to the inventive efforts of chef George Borg and his team.

The following Sunday morning, also at the Gozo Ministry hall, Angela Meluso accompanied Egyptian flautist Mina Ghobrial in a really very interesting and unusual recital. There was a mix of classical pieces like Fauré’s Sicilienne Op. 78 and his Pavane Op.50.

It was lovely, relaxing and ba­lanced playing, as was the case with the Minuet and Dance of the Blessed Spirits from Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, and a more modern Nocturne et Allegro Scherzando by Philippe Gaubert.

What was so novel were the different techniques and pretty amazing effects the flautist produced in some of the solo pieces he performed. Some of these technical details I had heard before, but not all of them in one recital as in this case.

The quasi-vocalising, the glissandi and the other quirky, but very evocative, touches enhanced Bassam Halaka’s The Drunken Flautist and in Ghobrial’s own Inspiration a la Gare de Lyon.

Henri Tomasi’s Pastorale was quite a straightforward piece, as was Telemann’s three-movement Fantasia N. 10 in F# Minor, which in its time was quite a pioneering piece.

Ghobrial’s bravura resulted in clamouring for more, and he delivered it with Meluso’s support in Monti’s famous Csárdás.

The closing concert of the festival was held at the church of St Francis in Victoria, with Colin Attard directing the Gaulitana String Orchestra in three popular works. First, there was some Mozart with a touch of elegance in Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.

The concert continued with Mina Ghobrial giving a splendid show again in Doppler’s far-from-easy Fantaisie Pastorale Hongroise. He followed this with an encore, Debussy’s haunting Syrinx.

Then, with Meluso joining the strings at the harpsichord and Mauro Tortorelli as solo violin, the ensemble performed Vivaldi’s Le Quattro Stagioni, bringing the festival to a fittingly joyful and accomplished conclusion.

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