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The staging was particularly intriguing in a transcription by the young Hungarian composer Adam Kondor of an organ prelude attributed to one of Bach's students, with the unusual harmonic shifts and a chromatic fugato all conveyed with immediacy whilst the performers slowly walked around grouping and regrouping in formations that appeared to highlight the shifting textures, such as the bassoon's recitative-like outpouring, answered by chords from the two clarinets. And there was a sense of fun to the ear-opening pieces by Laslo Sary, one of Hungary's leading contemporary composers, co-founder of the Budapest New Music Studio, and a noted artist in the field of electro-acoustic music.

All three pieces, from Sary's Creative Music Activities, a book about improvisation and music education, explore interactions. In the first, 'Chromatic Games', the bassoon's slowly rising and falling chromatic scale is pursued by slow-moving chromatic imitation amongst the two clarinets standing on either side, the closely spaced dissonances eventually converging, after a humoruous cat and mouse staccato dialogue, at a point of agreement. In 'Five repeated', a psychedelic effect is created by the relentless repetition of a five note theme by two clarinets, yet with constantly-changing metrical inflection, while a slower 'cantus firmus' of sustained notes in the bassoon creates a rich harmonic sheen through its shifting harmonic meaning around the ostinato. The final piece, 'Claves music', again exploits a minimalist-like texture on four beat rhythmic patterns; all three were brilliantly performed.

The concert concluded with Beethoven's seldom played Trio in C Op 87, a compelling four-movement work originally for two oboes and cor anglais believed to have been composed in the 1790s and published in 1806. Trio Lignum projected the thematic contrasts and development of its bristling sonata design first movement with a wide range of colour and lucid articulation, while the slow movement's chromaticism was poignantly evoked. The contrapuntal interest and driving sequences of the Minuet and Trio were especially well portrayed, and the bristling rondo finale drew virtuoso clarinet passagework in its purposeful ebullience. A Josquin mensural canon highlighted the unusual nature of this group's repertoire and rounded off their stimulating recital with fresh imagination. It was left to the Director of the Hungarian Cultural Centre Katalin Bogyay, organiser of Magyar Magic to pay the final tribute, to Hannah Horovitz for the success of her ninth series as Artistic Director of Springboard Concerts Trust, and for enhancing the musical lives of so many artists, and audiences, through providing a London début platform for outstanding international musicians at the start of their career, in a uniquely inspiring ambience.

Copyright © 11 December 2003 Malcolm Miller, London UK






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