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A Music-lovers' Paradise

KELLY FERJUTZ is in awe of
some of the musicians at the 2007
West Cork Chamber Music Festival


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Day eight -- Friday 6 July 2007

When I first heard about this Festival earlier this year, one of the very first things to catch my attention was a concert by the Kelly Wind Quintet, during which they would be playing, among other things, the Françaix Wind Quintet. Well. Given my first name and the fact that I studied horn as a girl (more years ago now than I care to remember) it seemed an omen to me. I quite desperately wanted to be in Bantry to hear this.

And now, here I am, in Bantry, and this piece is being played not once, but twice by this talented young group. Talk about serendipity! One of the really neat things about this festival is the wide variety of music available to hear. There are duos, trios, quartets, quintets and even larger ensembles of nearly every possible combination -- a true smorgasbord of musical entrees. It's not at all uncommon to encounter a musician or two while they're off-duty, so to speak. I've done so several times, while merely walking around the grounds of Bantry House, or just sitting and soaking up the scenic beauty or warm Irish sunshine. It's a music-lovers' paradise!

Bantry House and beyond - the view from the top of the 100 Steps. Photo © 2007 Kelly Ferjutz
Bantry House and beyond - the view from the top of the 100 Steps. Photo © 2007 Kelly Ferjutz

The Coffee Concert on Friday featured the clarinet as part of a trio (Beethoven) and a quartet (Hindemith). For the Beethoven Trio in B flat major Op 11, Sharon Kam was joined by Finghin Collins at the piano and Peter Bruns, cello. The sunny demeanor of the music was well-matched by the bright blue skies outside the Rose Room, clearly visible through the large windows. The abundance of mirrors in the room add other interesting viewpoints, as well.

Of course, the musical values were extremely high, and the three musicians blended as though they'd been performing together for years. Ms Kam plays as smoothly as any clarinetist I've ever heard, and the warm sound Mr Bruns draws from his cello was well-matched by the sensitive pianism displayed by Mr Collins.

For the challenging and enjoyable Hindemith Quartet for Clarinet and Piano Trio, they were joined by violinist Catherine Leonard. The composer excelled at the unusual, and this complex work is no exception. The brilliant ensemble writing has the four playing together and playing separately. They each have solos, and at times, even seem to be almost playing against each other. It all comes right at the end, however, leaving both musicians and audience contented.

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Copyright © 8 July 2007 Kelly Ferjutz, Bantry, Ireland


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