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The lady and her entourage

BILL NEWMAN at a concert
by the London Chamber Music Group


I can think of no more pleasurable way of banishing the myth that surrounds April Fools' Day than to attend one of those special concerts that features the combined talents of some of our distinguished instrumentalists.

Susan Milan, our beautiful flautist, has mastered so much repertoire over a decade of musicmaking and recordings for Chandos that one can easily run out of superlatives to describe her playing. Besides the purity of tone and spontaneity of phrasing comes the natural affinity and stylistic understanding that communicates with others on the platform at the same time. Performers who play together on a regular basis always time their entry cues precisely and instinctively, shaping and moulding their tempi and rubati accordingly, but the real charisma comes from the artist at the centre of the action.

Mozart's Quartet in C, K285b provides a continuing stream of romantic virtuosity in a classical setting right at the start, while Beethoven's rarely heard and utterly delightful Serenade in D, where the flute player urges her violin and viola colleagues to play truant with patchwork tapestries of notes subtly arranged -- as only this composer can -- demonstrated its creator's multitudinous fashionings to suit the select musicians and ever supportive public of his day. It also admirably served to make listeners forget the discomforts of the hall's lousy central heating, sending them happily out into the cold night air of Wigmore Street en route for tubes and buses. In between, came two works of impressionist genius. One by composer-conductor Eugene Goossens -- Suite for flute, violin and harp -- contained such a fund of ideas lit up by all the colours of the rainbow as to make one wonder what British composers of the present are endeavouring to persuade audiences to really understand, let alone admire.

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Copyright © 19 May 2005 Bill Newman, Edgware UK


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