Monday 15 October 2012

Delectable music - Nash Ensemble season continues

The Nash Ensemble opened their 2012/13 season at the Wigmore Hall last month with a pair of programmes featuring British music from the first half of the 20th century, Bax, Britten, Bridge, Grainger, Bliss, Quilter and Elgar. Their season continues in a similar vein on Saturday 27 October with tenor John Mark Ainsley, and Ian Brown, piano, in a lovely concert which includes Britten's Three Divertimenti, music by Bridge, songs for tenor and string quartet by Warlock, some of Elgar's lighter chamber music and RVW's On Wenlock Edge. There are 10 concerts in all in the season, with some very delectable music to come.

On Saturday 17 November they are again doing a pair of concerts, one early evening, including Britten's Simple Symphony, RVW's Six Studies on English Folk Tunes and his Five Mystical Songs, Ireland's Fantasy Sonata, and Finzi's Dies Natalis. The RVW songs will be performed by Roderick Williams in the composer's arrangement for piano and string quartet, an arrangement which is new to me but sounds fascinating. Dies Natalis will be performed by soprano Susan Gritton, rather than the usual tenor. The next day they are pairing Grainger's music with Mendelssohn's Octet and Bridge's Sextet for a coffee concert.

Further ahead, there is an all Britten programme with a terrific cast on 4 December with Sandrine Piau performing Les Illuminations, John Mark Ainsley and Richard Watkins in the Serenade for tenor, horn and strings. In January with another pair of concerts, it is Mark Padmore's turn, with Britten folksongs for tenor and guitar,  Walton's Anon in love, and Warlock's The Curlew plus Bax's Oboe quintet.

February sees Christopher Maltman performing Finzi's By Footpath and Stile and George Butterworth's Love Blows as the Wind Blows both for baritone and string quartet, plus Elgar's Quintet and Bridge's Phantasy Piano Quartet. In March, on Saturday 16, they explore Britten and Walton's film and radio music with showings of  The Night Mail and Henry V, plus suites drawn from Britten and from Walton's film and radio work with Eleanor Bron and Samuel West as reciters. The next morning their coffee concert is devoted to RVW's early Quintet and Dvorak's Piano Quintet.

This is one of those series where I can find interesting performances of old favourites, alongside works which I have not come across before but ought to have. A fascinating and tempting programme indeed.

The final concert of the season is on March 19, with a birthday celebration from David Matthews, music by David Matthews, Michael Berkely, Julian Anderson and James Francis Brown, all the works being Nash Ensemble commissions and some world premieres.

Further information from the Nash Ensemble and Wigmore Hall websites.

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