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Captivating performance was a joy
4:24pm Thursday 17th May 2012 in Leisure
The London Concertante at the Kings Hall, May 9
This group of nine string players has a reputation for imaginative programming that includes, as well as standard classical fare, music whose roots are worldwide and folk inspired. Communication with their audience is very immediate, not only in the way they project themselves as players but also in the witty compering of the show by cellist Chris Grist.
The first half of the concert began with Mozart’s Divertimento in D K136, a favourite with school orchestras but the phrasing and bowing were so imaginative, what could have been a run–through of a familiar minor classic, became a newly-minted joy. The Elgar Serenade for Strings is a major classic. In the outer movements, while not underplaying their essentially wistful nature, the playing was rhythmically alive and alert.
The Mendelssohn Tenth String Symphony offers fewer opportunities for a nuanced approach but the Bartok Romanian Folk Dances certainly do and all their colouristic aspects were engagingly projected.
The music after the interval was all folk-inspired, either gypsy or Argentinian. The sound of strings, and the violin in particular is the essence of Hungarian Magyar music and the performances were full of fire, the leader, Adam Summerhayes completely at home with the style in his virtuosic solos. Yet the Piazzolla items were as convincing despite their less authentic garb, especially in their version of Libertango with its ear-tickling percussive string effects to spice the texture.
With this concert, David Pyett’s long tenure as chairman of the Ilkley Concert Club came to an end, but he will continue to advise and inspire in his new role as president.