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I did attend both evening concerts, however, in which Mr Collins was again a participant, combining with soprano Lenneke Ruiten, and Sharon Kam, clarinet, in Six German Songs Op 103 of Louis Spohr. The clarinet is almost another soprano voice, although singing wordlessly, to be sure, so closely do their lines mesh. Ms Ruiten's voice is gorgeous, and expressive as she just stands there and sings. Ms Kam plays perhaps the most smoothly of any clarinettist I've ever heard, with terrific articulation. Mr Collins was a sensitive collaborator on these six songs, set to words of various poets, but all dealing with love in some form or another.

Ian Wilson's re:play received a committed and passionate world première performance from Cathal Roche, saxophones, Hugh Tinney piano, Malachy Robinson, double bass, and the RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet. I found the piece to be endlessly fascinating as it wended its way through the assembled musicians. At times it sounded as though three different pieces were being played, all at once! Each of the performers had extended solo lines, although Mr Roche had perhaps more than the others, which is only fitting as he was the main inspiration for the piece.

There were solo improvisational opportunities for him, as well as with the ensemble. Sometimes he led, sometimes he followed, but always his sound was beautiful. Likewise the double bass, which was plucked, slapped and/or bowed, depending on the composer's whim. All but the piano had occasion to bend notes in either direction, and alternated syncopated chords with off-beats.

Mr Tinney played jazzy harmonies and chords on the piano, and participated in a dandy extended riff for saxophone and piano. The quartet was kept busy interrupting things, or joining in, at times echoing the saxophone, at other times leading the way, for the sax to echo them, or else indulging in pizzicato notes. The entire piece was full of neat rhythmic quirks. Judging by the smile on his face as he shared bows with the performers, Mr Wilson was very pleased by the efforts of all concerned.

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Copyright © 5 July 2007 Kelly Ferjutz, Bantry, Ireland


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