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RNS spotlight on chamber music by composers from the British Isles

The Northern Echo, Gavin Engelbrecht

ROYAL Northern Sinfonia’s latest chamber concert at Sage Gateshead placed the spotlight on music by composers from the British isles written in the early 20th century.

Gustav Holst’ s Wind Quintet got short shrift from his former tutor Charles William Stanford, who as an adjudicator at the Royal College of Music in 1903, remarked it was “uneven in quality and often ugly” .
It was criticism RNS flautist Juliette Bausor felt unjust and she invited the audience to judge for themselves.

The players proceeded to make an eloquent case for the melodious miniature that combines elements of late-Romantic and bucolic musical landscapes.

Stanford’s Serenade in F Major “Nonet” was delivered with a spirited spontaneity under the direction of violinist Bradley Creswick.

The Allegro molte featured brilliant flourishes which sizzled from player to player, while the singing lines of the slow movement were wonderfully shaped by clarinettist Timothy Orpen, violist Michael Gerrard, cellist Louisa Tuck and Creswick.

The programme concluded with Edward Elgar’s Piano Quintet in A Minor.

Elgar is said to have been inspired by a clump of distorted trees near his country retreat, that legend has it are the remains of a band of itinerant Spanish Monks struck by lightning for unspecified “impious acts”.

The haunting passages of the opening movement were wonderfully conveyed by pianist John Reid and the strings, while the slow movement was invested with an aching tenderness.The whole was brought to an energetic climax that was greeted with thunderous applause.

The concert was recorded for later broadcast by Classic FM.

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