Friday, July 11th, 2003
Silver Lining Festival: Chacombe
Church of St. Peter & St. Paul : Friday, July
at Chacombe, which is a kind of English Brigadoon of roasted Banbury stone, where
an encounter with Miss Marple or Miss Matty of Cranford might seem all in the
day's routine, the concert I heard in the church last week was - believe it or
not — part of a music festival.
project was launched three years ago by Cherry and Stephen Large, commemorating
their daughter Sophie, killed in a road accident. Ever since, the festival has
grown in size and interest. It assists the Silver Lining Fund, contributing to
the support of young singers and actors; it also provides a platform for starry
young artists, whose quality is assured by the presence of that fine viola-player
Tim Boulton, as festival director, and Tom Poster, this year’s artistic director.
cast includes a homespun nexus of intelligent help (Juliet and Nigel Banks, for
example) but Stephen Large, eyeing us before the concert began, observed that
the years had brought in more and more faces he failed to recognise. No mystery
about that of course. If people insist on recruiting artists of rarefied calibre,
like this, they do so at local peril. So forget the diplomatic half-truths. Charity
Concert or not, the music-making here deserved unalloyed bravos.
begin with, the cellist Richard Harwood, whose career has not wavered since his
child prodigy days, played Bach’s G major Unaccompanied Suite at such a pace you
thought it was just meant to dazzle. But then you picked out the un-neglected,
expressive detail and meticulous control of bass notes, never allowed to boom
out of balance. Equally original was the selection from Bartok’s 44 Violin
duos. The dissonant clashes, the tri-tone entries: these prevented neither Tom
Hankey nor Nadia Wijzenbeek (particularly the latter) from handling these works
with a rich, seductive fluency, that stressed their fun and charm.
larger pieces, Schubert’s Quartettsatz and Schumann's Piano Quintet, were narrated
with the kind of aggressive freshness you would expect from young players with
bags of talent. The same mood infected that other beautiful work, the Faure Piano
Trio, whose insistent motifs, sporting among the harmonies, seem the quintessence
of Faure’s passionately wistful style. But its bitonal feuding, its relentless
onward and upward drive, was what this performance relished most.
with chromatics, assailed by rising dynamics, you sat there in awe."