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Lively Playing

A concert by Zephyr,
appreciated by MIKE WHEELER


Zephyr is a wind quintet comprising Rachel Holt, flute, Hugh McKenna, oboe, Chris Swann, clarinet (the group's leader and, like Rachel Holt, a principal with Sinfonia Viva), Helen Peller, bassoon, and Lindsey Stoker, horn.

Including transcriptions and original pieces, their programme (Derby Chamber Music, Multi-Faith Centre, Derby University, 14 November 2008) began and ended with opera. David Walter's suite of pieces from Carmen worked better than the opening item, a transcription of the overture to Verdi's La forza del destino, where occasionally there was a sense of straining the medium.

Reicha's Quintet Op 88 No 2, in the abridged version published in 1937, was notable particularly for the swing to the rhythm in the waltz-like second movement.

Whether it was Milhaud evoking the past of his native Provence in La cheminée du Roi René, Paul Patterson having fun with west-country tunes in Westerly winds, the comedy mixed with darker moments of Malcolm Arnold's Divertimento for flute, oboe and clarinet, or the pungency, wit and lyricism of Ligeti's Six Bagatelles, Zephyr's lively playing allied to their excellent ensemble and sense of teamwork projected a wide range of moods and musical styles with flair and panache.

Copyright © 26 November 2008 Mike Wheeler, Derby UK


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