18 January 2014

AYO2014/4 (Chamber)

It was only the first half of AYO's Advanced Chamber Music concert that I attended, just to the interval, but I left elated and stunned. I'd wondered why the moniker "advanced", and when the performers came on stage, they were young, but what I heard was a stunner. Three works by three groups but three composers. First was Prokofiev Oboe Quintet Op.39 (selections). It started with a Middle Eastern feel then into hits and later impressionism and through four movements. Every hart had its feature, even the bass that did melody and accompaniment into the highest thumb positions and even a walking bass-like line of 8 or 16 bars. All passing melodies, diverse tones of oboe/clarinet and violin/viola and that bass when it went deep and all manner of techniques - pizz, ostinato, echoing melodies, harmonies. A stunning piece and a mature performance. The next was Bax' Quintet for Harp and strings. The piece itself interested me less - more classical in style, waterfalls and rising sequenced recoveries, rhythmic chordal accompaniment on harp against cello melody, all country idyl or nymphs in woodland or looking at their images in ponds. Nicely played but simpler. Last was Paul Stanley's Piano Trio Dolcissimo Uscignolo and I was taken aback. I hadn't expected to better the Prokofiev but this was a wonder. Obviously modern / contemporary. Harmonies, sparseness, pensiveness but also atonality, odd syncopations and virtuosic demands. Some violin/cellos lines were breathtaking and these guys carried it off. I thought I counted 5-7 at one time, but nothing unrelenting. How can kids do this? I left in amazement, missing Brahms, Shostakovich and Strauss, but I was strangely satisfied.

Prokofiev Oboe Quintet Op.39 (selections) was performed by Billy Richardson (oboe), Magdalenna Krstevska (clarinet), Courtenay Cleary (violin), Gregory Daniel (viola) and Jann Pallandi (bass). Bax Quintet for harp and strings was performed by Williams Nichols (harp), Estelita Rae (violin), Iona Allan (violin), Justin Julian (viola) and James Morley (cello). Paul Stanhope's piano trio Dolcissimo uscignolo was performed by Yuhki Mayne (violin), Jack Bailey (cello) and Cara Tran (piano).

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