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Lively enthusiasm and panache

Adrian Wilson (oboe) Smed

Mature Times, Eileen Caiger Gray

“Ensemble 360 wowed the audience tonight with a magical mix of diverse works for oboe and strings, played, as ever, with thrilling brilliance and intensity. Joining regulars, oboist Adrian Wilson, cellist Gemma Rosefield and violinist Ben Nabarro for this performance and combining their skills seamlessly, were Lucy Gould on second violin and Abigail Fenna on viola.”

Full of exhilaration, the opening piece, Phantasy Quartet Op 2, is an early work by Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) written in 1932 and dedicated to Leon Goossens, an oboist celebrated far and wide for his purity and beauty of tone and novel use of vibrato. In fact, three of tonight’s six pieces were inspired by the exceptional talent of Goosens, a man so dedicated that, after loosing his teeth in a car accident, he completely re-learnt the oboe to suit his new embouchure and then played into his nineties, performing, some said, better than ever! This tale, along with other entertaining anecdotes, good-humoured snippets and fancy facts (like Shostakovich was a football referee and Martinu wrote a piece called Half Time) came courtesy of tonight’s sparkling virtuoso oboist Adrian Wilson, whose playing likewise never fails to move.

“His haunting oboe sang, soared and soothed in the arching flow of Britten’s mesmerising Phantasy as fabulous violin, viola and cello parts built from mysterious mood (which returns at the end) to march through rhythmic, lively pluckings, buzzings and insistent, clipped tick-tockings that, even at this early stage, demonstrate Britten’s particular love of the dotted rhythm.”

… Again, the supreme melodic beauty and dynamic emotion of Wilson’s oboe sang through the air to the strings’ earnest rhythms (in Elgar’s Andante and Allegro for Oboe and Strings]

Last up was the 1922 Oboe Quintet by Arnold Bax (1883-1953)…

“Ensemble 360’s collective passion and virtuosity have it all covered, their lively enthusiasm and panache ensuring compelling listening all the way.”

Had Delboy been a chamber music fan, he’d surely have been rubbing his hands in glee, chuckling, “Lovely Jubbly!”

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