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<<  -- 2 --  Malcolm Miller    Quintessential quintet


The curious centrepiece was the Piano Trio version of Beethoven's Wind Sextet Op 71, made by A F Wustrow in 1812, which, conjectured the ensemble, here received its modern première. Certainly their incisive and energising performance brought out the work's drama, and if there was here a sense that the block textures of Beethoven's sextet were transferred fairly directly to the keyboard, perhaps less than idiomatically, nevertheless the main aspects of the work came across within a variegated trio texture. As with many of the contemporaneous arrangements, it is possible Beethoven knew of the work; perhaps Beethoven even approved this version, a hypothesis which may reward research. Highlights included the first movement's bold initial fanfare motif, which, alongside the main theme, gives rise to myriad developmental processes; the langorous melody introduced by bassoon and echoed by clarinet in the slow movement, the sprightly Scherzo with its gentler Trio and the rondo finale, with its tuneful episodes; all were conveyed with appealing fullness of tone and communicability.

Following the interval a further contrast of colour was offered by the fortepiano's delicate yet also strident sonorities in Mozart's D minor Fantasia, which Kathryn Cok rendered with agility before the final work, Danzi's Quintet for wind and piano, Weber-like in its brilliant passagework and a lively tunefulness. Clearly influenced by Mozart (and Beethoven's quintet) the three movements unfolded with naïve charm and elegance, the wind especially sumptuous in the tender Larghetto, and bristling in the lively finale. It brought to a bright conclusion a highly enjoyable recital by this talented young ensemble who one hopes will be perfoming more frequently on concert platforms in Britain and abroad in the near future. London audiences will have a chance to hear the Etesian Ensemble again at St Martin-in-the-Fields next Autumn.

Meanwhile the Glenilla Arts Foundation season continues with a recital on 10 March 2002 by soprano Rebecca Ryan accompanied by David Harvey (venue: The Church of the Christian Community, 34 Glenilla Road, London NW3 4AN). Further information from the Andrea Hess, Artistic Director, Glenilla Arts Foundation, 10 Belsize Park, London NW3 4ES, UK, fax +44 (0)20 7431 4716.

Copyright © 12 February 2002 Malcolm Miller, London, UK




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