Playing unamplified allowed the acoustics of the hall to really come into their own. Sitting in the front row means we tend to get a straightforward effect of the instrumentation as we're so close to the action, but last night, closing my eyes to allow just my ears to take in the music, was like sitting in soft bowl of sound, it was glorious.
Xuefei started off with a finger warming Andante & Allegro from Rossini's Overture to William Tell transcribed for the guitar in Rossini's lifetime by Legnani. An exquisite rendering of Bach's Lute Suite in G minor (which he'd transcribed from his Cello Suite and she'd arranged for the guitar) followed and the first half finished with her arrangement of a classic Chinese piece Sword Dance based on the poem by Du Fu.
The second half was made up of sets of small pieces, Paco de Lucia's Reflejo de Luna, which really showed the differences in both instrument and technique between the Classical and Flamenco styles, linked with Granados' La maja da Goya.
By now she'd warmed up enough to discard her coat and, far less encumbered, played Debussy's Girl with the Flaxen Hair and de Falla's Millers Dance from the Three Cornered Hat, both familiar tunes on the piano but which worked really well transcribed for the guitar.
Finally a South American set, Villa Lobos' Schottisch-Choros, Bonfa's Manha de Carnival (from thefilm Black Orpheus), Jobim's Felicidade, which was the only low point for me, on this occasion Xuefei just couldn't capture the Bossa Nova mood and Sardinha's Lamentos do Morro.
Nearly all of the music was comprised of familiar tunes, which is often a pleasant way to while away an evening, but last night was made special due to the wonderful playing.