The new lunchtime concert series this term got off to a vibrant start with a virtuoso performance from the St James Quintet in the Gulbenkian earlier today.
The first of Ibert’s Trois Pièces Brèves was deft and dazzling, whilst the second had some sustained and lyrical playing; the third was elegantly crafted, and demonstrated great dynamic flexibility.
The polished neo-Classicism of Hindemith’s Kleine Kammermusik Op 24 no 2 had great rhythmic verve, with an especially lilting second movement; the mini-cadenzas in the tiny fourth movement saw each player showing great assurety, whilst the final movement had excellent rhythmic punch and good control of the elaborate cross-rhythms.
The programme finished with a poised and refined reading of Reicha’s Quintet no 2 in E flat, including some fearsome agility in the bassoon in the last movement; whilst often an overlooked and neglected orchestral instrument, the bassoonist showed the instrument is no less agile than some of its more melodic brethren!
The group left the stage to an enthusiastic response from an audience clearly astonished at the virtuosity of the young players; throughout the programme the instrumentalists demonstrated controlled and accomplished playing which belies their youthful years. There’s an expressive sense of communication between the players, with some finely nuanced ensemble playing that sees them playing with great individual freedom and commitment, whilst maintaining an effortless unity as a group.
The St James Quintet will be appearing at the Dulwich Picture Gallery later in the year: keep an eye out for them, they are surely an ensemble with a promising future ahead of them.
The series of lunchtime concert begins anew this term with a visit from the vibrant St James Quintet next Monday, in a programme of music by Ibert, Hindemith and Reicha.
Ibert’s Trois Pièces Brèves are a light-hearted and brightly-sonorous addition to the wind quintet repertoire, while the Hindemith occupies a smiliar soundworld to the neo-Classicism of Stravinsky and includes a tiny fourth movement, a mere twenty-three bars, in which each instrument is given a miniature solo, cadenza-like flourish. A lifelong friend of Beethoven, Reicha contributed some twenty-five pieces to the wind quintet repertoire, which in their day were widly performed across Europe, and remain his best-known works.
The concert begins at 1.10p, finishes at 1.50pm; entry is free, with a suggested donation of £3.
Looking at the new concert diary over the next four months, I think it’s fair to say this is one of the busiest I’ve seen here at the University.
Events kick off in a few week’s time with the award-winning St James Quintet opening the Lunchtime Concert series for the term with an eclectic programme for wind quintet. February begins with a bang as the Concert and Big Bands storm back to the Gulbenkian in ‘Nice ‘n’ Easy,’ with a selection including classic Duke Ellington and pieces fromWicked, to name but a few; the Chamber Choir will take you on an evocative journey ‘From Morn to Midnight‘ in the intimacy of Canterbury Cathedral Crypt towards the end of the month.
March promises to be an epic month; there’s the glory of the Colyer-Fergusson Cathedral Concert as the Chorus and Symphony Orchestra unite in Haydn’s Creation; student and staff musicians in Jazz @ 5; the exciting prospect of Korngold’s lyrical second string quartet with the Brodskys; exoticism from the Bamboo and Silk Ensemble; not one – not two – but three bands as the Concert and Big Bands team up with St. Edmund’s School for Big Bands3, before the term finishes with a valedictory lunchtime concert at St Peter’s Church in Canterbury from the newly-founded University Mistral Ensemble and the Chamber Choir.
Click here to view online, and get the dates in your diaries now, or download a copy of the brochure as a PDF. Something for everyone…
Because it does. Doesn't it ? Blogging about extra-curricular musical life at the University of Kent.