My Funny Valentine’s Day

By April 7, 2016


Twilight_428On Valentine’s Day at Leeds’ Howard Assembly Room violinist Thomas Greed and pianist Anthony Kraus performed a selection of heart-stirring and achingly romantic music, hand-picked to complement the showing of the film Brief Encounter.

IMG_6145-300x200Starting with Dvorak’s Romance in F Minor, opus 11. Written circa 1873, is dedicated to his friend Frantisek Ondicek. Greed and Krauss really bring out the beautiful melodies with grace and temperance. They perform with perfection and precision as well as emotion and energy.

This is followed by Rachmaninov’s Morceaux de Salon, Opus 10 which initially uses alternating chords to set up a melancholy mood; then at times it has a Viennese lilt; brightly sparkling pianism and a playful ending.

IMG_6168-300x200The finale by Fauré has an interesting background. He wrote Berceuse for Hélène Bardac (1892–1985), known to her family as Dolly (she was later Madame Gaston de Tinan). She was the young daughter of the singer Emma Bardac, with whom Fauré had a long-running affair. He was in the practice of sending pieces of music, in manuscript, to mark Dolly’s birthdays and other family occasions and this one was a cradle song.

A wonderful introduction into the world of romantic music for violin and piano that sets us in the mood for a Valentine’s meal. Right next door to the Howard Assembly Room in the Grand Arcade is the vegetarian restaurant Roots’n’Fuits. The food there is always extremely healthy and lean but still very flavoursome and beautifully prepared.

IMG_0170-224x300For Valentine’s weekend they have prepared a sharing platter which comes delicately displayed with a terrifically unusual blend of taste sensations. The cinnamon roasted carrot is to die for while the accompanying salsify aubergine is a big favourite with my creative partner and foodie photographer Holly Spanner. Also included is chilli creamed celerian with a generous portion of herbed crusty bread (must try this at home!) And to top it all off is a pear and raddichio coleslaw and sweet potato and orange bitters – we are definitely getting more than one of our five-a-day!

Highly recommended for pre-theatre eats that won’t leave you feeling stuffed and drowsy, rather more revitalized with refreshed energy. See