When you reach the grand age of 70 it becomes a more intensive pleasure to experience something one has longed for all one’s life up to now . For me it was to be to hear a live performance of Schubert’s “TROUT” Piano Quintet. As I was making up the year’s programme I was approached by the viola player of the Cirrus Ensemble, Tim Grant.
It transpired that he and his colleagues who earn their bread-and-butter by playing for musicals in the evenings are more than happy to return to their classical roots and do afternoon performances for their own pleasure as well as seeking to please an audience. The lucky audience today was the Hertford music club.
They had constructed an interesting programme. The main work on the menu was to be by Schubert. However they decided to put an early work by Ralph Vaughan Williams to cover the first half of the recital.
Apparently the composer had withheld this work from publication on the basis that it was not yet of his best.
This was evident in the performance of this piece. Some Melodic sequences were far too long
And the texture was frequently too thick and late romantic. Nevertheless we were grateful to sample this work as one would do when looking at Leonardo da Vinci sketches.
After the interval we were treated to one of the most famous works for solo violin & piano, the Meditation by Massenet.Rolf Wilson was accompanied by Mike Stanley – they really ‘juiced’ every note of this piece, Rolf finishing on a chain of harmonics that would have been almost inaudible over the radio.
Being well warmed up the ensemble could turn their attention to the hugely popular quintet of Schubert. We became acutely aware of the style of phrases and sensitive voicing of the score by contrast with today’s opening where a young composer was only just finding his voice. Pleasure was written all over the faces of the musicians as it would have been at a Schubert party and this became infectious among a large and appreciative audience.
Thank you, Cirrus Ensemble!