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A Divine Evening

The London Bridge Ensemble
plays Brahms, Beethoven and Schumann,
enjoyed by TAU WEY


The Wigmore Hall, Britain's chamber music venue ne plus ultra, hosted the London Bridge Ensemble [5 June 2007], which performed a mixture of chamber music and song. In a programme which consisted entirely of music by nineteenth-century German composers, the ensemble chose such core works as Brahms' Piano Quartet No 1 and Schumann's Liederkreis.

While the rest of the music scene is moving towards innovation and renewal, drawing increasingly on multi-cultural music and new media, this concert at the Wigmore Hall rested comfortably with Romantic chamber music and song, which many in the audience would have been familiar with. Indeed, the fact that audience members at this hall are often acquainted with the works as well as the performers are, is both daunting and exciting.

The London Bridge Ensemble. Photo © Benjamin Ealovega
The London Bridge Ensemble. Photo © Benjamin Ealovega

Although the programme was conventional, the ensemble did not need to be apologetic. Their performance shone from beginning to end, producing endlessly beautiful sounds that defied the acoustics by ringing on in the air beyond the end of the pieces. Schumann's Piano Trio No 1 in D minor was performed with great commitment and tireless energy. The first movement was passionate, yet when the section with the cello harmonics arrived, the ensemble immediately created a heavenly sound that was chilling in its power. The tricky scherzo movement that followed was executed with faultless ensemble, culminating in a gloriously uplifting finish, The slow movement began with an exceptionally moving violin solo, and continued to be sublime and intense in expression. The last movement is, from the compositional point of view, somewhat long-winded and structurally awkward. However, the ensemble gave a successful performance with their sheer energy and tonal resourcefulness.

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Copyright © 9 June 2007 Tau Wey, London UK


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