Monday, February 20, 2012

Harmoniemusik - Conway Hall, 15/2/12

I have had the pleasure of playing with Harmoniemusik since around 1992. The group is a wind quintet plus piano, all of whom have been friends for 20 years or so. They resurrected St Columb festival in Cornwall after it fell into a hole in the late 80s, and set up a chamber music festival in the last week of August, which is quite nice for Nicky as I as our wedding anniversary lands in that week. So I have no excuses for forgetting!! Since 92 the group has performed 3 concerts a week. My first St C was 93 or 94, am not sure. I had a brief break of 15 years when I was in Australia, but was allowed back in 2010.

The Conway Hall concert is a sort of "highlights" of the 3 St Columb shows the previous August. I was in 3 works:-

Nielsen - Serenata Invano. I have done this piece a number of times over the years, at least 5 times, but it never gets tired. Its a quintet for cello, bass, clarinet, horn and bassoon. An odd mix, but it works. Its programmatic, in 3 sections based on a group of musos who spend the first disjointed section warming up and tuning. The next section is a serenade to a beautiful woman. The piece ends with a disgruntled march, as the object of the serenade is not impressed enough. Hence the title, which means Serenade In Vain. Its fun, with lots of solo link passages for the bass.

Vaughan Williams - Piano Quintet. I really must apologise for boring my family and friends about how much I love this piece. It is just magnificent. Its an early work that VW was unhappy with and was not published in his lifetime. Fortunately Ursula was persuaded to publish it when he fell off the perch. Paul Guinery believes there are signs of the mature composer - I am not so sure. It very approachable and a great play for all. I have to thank my in-laws Liz Kilpatrick, Kay Sobey and Howard Jones for introducing me to wonderful piece - Kay and Howard were at the concert.

Telemann - Concerto in E min for flute, violin and oboe d'Amore. Having enjoyed a slushy romantic piece to end the first half it was time to ditch the vibrato and make a cleaner, clearer sound for the Telemann continuo. Janna, Jo and Sarah played beautifully, and I followed Alec for my life!!

It was good fun, music, company, wine and nibbles. What more could you want??

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