Monday, 6 January 2014

Chamber Classics Unwrapped at Kings Place

Kings Place, Chamber Classics Unwrapped
Kings Place has run a series of year long themes in which a single composer is Unwrapped (we have just finished 2013's Bach Unwrapped). For 2014 they have decided to go for something different, Chamber Classics Unwrapped, a series of concerts presenting the top 50 chamber works. The works were chosen with the help of an online vote at BBC Music Magazine, but the results include all the works that you might expect.  The advantage of the series is that artists have been given carte-blanche in the programming so that Beethoven is paired with John Adams or Bernard Hermann, Elgar with Falla and Brahms, Ravel with Birtwistle, with composers like Ligeti, Panufnik, Turina, Berio, Reicha, and Webern also cropping up. The range of artists is impressive, with old faces like the Dante Quartet, Endymion and the Schubert Ensemble, plus resident ensembles like the Brodsky Quartet, the Aurora Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta and the OAE. Individual artists will include James Ehnes, Jack Liebeck and Sarah Connolly.

There are no major surprises in the repertoire. Number 50 is Nielsen's Wind Quintet, opus 43 (played by Nicholas Daniel and the Haffner Wind Ensemble), number 49 is Sibelius's Voces intimae, opus 56 (played by the Fitzwilliam Quartet), whilst number 2 is Mendelssohn's Octet opus 20 and number 1 is Schubert's String Quintet D956 (both played by the Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble).

Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time is there as is Schoenberg's Verklarte Nacht (both played by the London Sinfonietta). There is Bartok's Sonata for two pianos and percussion played by students from the Royal Academy of Music and paired with Stravinsky's Soldier's Tale (in the full version with narrators).

Elgar's Piano Quintet (played by Benjamin Frith and the Dante Quartet) is the only English work in the top 50 list. Chausson's Concerto in D for violin, piano & string quartet doesn't make it onto the list, but is paired up with Shostakovich's Piano Quintet played by the Carducci Quartet with Charles Owen and Katharine Gowers. Moeran's String Quartet No. 1 makes it as a companion piece to Schumann's Piano Quintet (played by Julius Drake and the Maggini String Quartet).

In fact, the works in the pairings are sometimes equally as interesting. Elgar's Piano Quintet is paired with Turina's The Bullfighter's Prayer and Poulenc's Violin Sonata. Brahms's Horn Trio, played by Endymion, has Ligeti's Trio for horn, violin and piano as one of its companions, whilst Panufnik's String Quartet no. 3 is performed by the Tippett Quartet alongside Beethoven's String Quartet no. 3. Harrison Birtwistle's Bogenstrich Variationen and Beethoven's Piano Trio in E flat, Op.70 No.2 form the companios to Ravel's Trio for violin, cello and piano performed by Adrian Brendel, Andrej Bielow, Aleksander Madzar

One work which has not made the cut is Samuel Barber's Dover Beach which I think is a great omission.

There are a series of study days on French Chamber Music, Beethoven's Quartets and Schubert's Final Masterworks. Further information from the Kings Place website.

Elsewhere on this blog:

No comments:

Post a comment

Popular Posts this month