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MALCOLM MILLER attends a concert in
London's Great Chamber of the Charterhouse


It was a special treat to attend a concert in the Great Chamber of the Charterhouse, London EC1 on 25 September 2007, given by the enterprising Opus 3 Trio, the final of a three concert series. Certainly the Charterhouse, EC1, near Smithfield's Market, is one of London's best kept secrets, in the heart of the city, an Elizabethan house which for the last four hundred years has been a charitable institution devoted to care for the elderly as well as being the original home of the famous Charterhouse School. The idea of a concert series there was an enterprising venture for Opus 3, a group formed in 1999 by violinist Christopher White, Head of Stings at Uppingham School, pianist Melanie Reinhard and cellist Jane Odriozola. Their guest artist on this occasion was the soprano Caroline Trutz.

This final concert of the series attracted a full hall to the magnificent Elizabethan hall, with its stucco gold leafed rimmed ceiling and medieval tapestries adorning the walls. A favoured residence for Queen Elisabeth I, the house was built on the site of a Carthusian Monastery, with foundations during the Great Plague, dissolved by Henry VIII, bought in 1611 by the wealthiest commoner in England, Thomas Sutton. A bachelor devoted to the improvement of society, Sutton endowed it as a charitable foundation to support elderly bachelors or widowers 'of limited means' as well as a school for boys, which moved to Surrey in 1872, and has had many famous scholars including John Wesley and musicians such as Vaughan Williams.

The Opus 3 Trio: From left to right, Christopher White, violin, Melanie Reinhard, piano and Jane Odriozolo, cello
The Opus 3 Trio: From left to right, Christopher White, violin, Melanie Reinhard, piano and Jane Odriozolo, cello

The programme opened with a superb account of Tartini's Devil's Trill Sonata, in which Christopher White displayed wonderful tonal qualities, especially drawing out the sweetness of his 1696 Stradivarius in the lyrical first movement and the expansive slow movement. White projected the final movement, which gives the works its title, with thrilling trilling and rich polyphony, particularly the cadenza that intensifies with layer upon layer until the final cadence. Tartini's expressive melodic writing received a beautifully shaded and affirming interpretation, while Melanie Reinhart's piano supported with unanimity of ensemble.

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Copyright © 16 October 2007 Malcolm Miller, London UK


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