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Enery and Playfulness

A concert by the wind players of Ensemble 360
ends Derby Chamber Music's 2006-7 season
and satisfies MIKE WHEELER


Last month Derby Chamber Music presented the outstanding string players from Ensemble 360, the Elias Quartet. On this occasion it was the turn of the wind players, in delightful performances of early Beethoven and Mozart's greatest work for wind ensemble (Derby Chamber Music, Murray Park School, Mickleover, Derby, UK, 20 April 2007).

They responded wholeheartedly to the young Beethoven's energy and playfulness, in his Sextet, Op 71, and Octet, Op 103. Some of the rhythms were a bit stiff early on in the first movement of the Sextet, but this was soon overcome and the rest of the performance flowed beautifully. I particularly enjoyed they way they relished the music's darker sonorities. They made the scherzo of the Octet really hop and skip, and brought out the wit and humour of the silences at the end of the first movement and the pauses in the middle of the finale.

Mozart's Serenade K361 is one of his greatest works. All Mozart is here -- his light and dark, his ebullience and lyrical warmth, and Ensemble 360 didn't stint on any of it. They projected the emotional depth of the third movement while refusing to linger unnecessarily, and gave the second trio section of the fourth movement a real country-dance swing. They produced some lovely soft playing in the fifth movement, while projecting a real sense of joie-de-vivre in the first and last.

Derby Chamber Music's 2006-7 season could scarcely have ended on a more satisfying note.

Copyright © 26 April 2007 Mike Wheeler, Derby UK


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