Oxford May Music 2011 Festival Finale (1st Week TT 2011)
Holywell Music Room,
Monday 2nd May, 7:30pm
the past week of music and talks to a close, expectations were high for this festival
finale and it certainly delivered.
free-for-youth festival included performances from international ensembles as
well as fascinating talks from eminent speakers such as Brian Cox and was a week
not to be missed.
in the beautiful 18th century Holywell Music Room, yesterday evening’s finale
performance featured the fantastic talents of seven musicians playing a bill of
four pieces for small ensembles ranging from the courtly Trio for Flute, Violin
and Viola, Op. 25 by Beethoven to the sombre yet luscious “Verklärte Nacht”, Op.
4 by Schoenberg.
solo artists the list of the performer’s achievements are seemingly unending;
from Richard Harwood’s BBC Radio 3 debut aged thirteen with a live recording of
the Elgar Cello Concerto to Philip Dukes’ solo performances at the BBC Proms and
extensive recordings for the prestigious Naxos music label, the musicians certainly
lived up to expectations with this remarkable evening of chamber music.
concert opened with a very fine performance of Beethoven’s Trio for Flute, Violin
and Viola, Op. 25, comprising 6 short movements, each lead by the beautiful voice
of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s principal Jaime Martin on flute. This was
followed by Antonin Dvorák’s energetic String Sextet in A Major, Op. 48 – a stately
and melodic piece played to a very high standard featuring many influences from
Slavonic gypsy tunes so frequently heard in Dvorák’s writing. Mozart’s Flute Quartet
No. 1 in D Major, K285 followed, ending with a charmingly gay Rondo full of typical
Mozartean invention which really allowed the individuals technical abilities to
already superb concert was then utterly stolen away by the final piece – a stunning
performance of Schoenberg’s “Verklärte Nacht”, Op. 4. The audience was left blown
away by this beautiful gem of turn of the century music telling a story of the
evening wanderings of a couple, the admission by the woman that she is pregnant
by another and the man’s magnanimous response looking to the future. This wonderful
interpretation showcased exceptional ensemble playing alongside each individual’s
technical prowess and power to convey emotion; the delectable light pizzicato
sections really brought the room to life, painting a vivid picture of the young
woman standing nervous in the moonlight nervously awaiting the response from her
lover. This piece stands firmly at the summit of 20th century chamber music and
this splendid interpretation absolutely did it proud.
was an exceptional finale fit for an exceptional festival, neither to be missed."