REVIEW: Wye Valley Chamber Ensemble St George's, Bristol 8/10
THIS ensemble is part of the Wye Valley Festival, and for the first time, they extended their territory to Bristol for an all-day visit featuring works by Schubert. The festival, founded in 2000, uses special venues like the Bishop's Palace at Hereford and now they can add St.George's, with its special acoustic, to their list of venues.
The acoustic certainly emphasised the fine rapport between players; pianist Daniel Tong and violinist Laura Samuel. In the early Schubert Sonatina they found a perfect balance, and the simple violin themes with the piano embellishments plainly showed that then teenage composer was going on to greater things.
A curiosity was the Arpeggione Sonata in A minor. It was written for a long gone instrument with six strings, rather like a small cello, and Schubert's was the only piece written for it. Modern players of the violin, viola and cello like to play versions of it, and here it was cellist Alice Neary who gave it a graceful romantic charge.
The final work was the String Trio in B flat, a more mature work in which Schubert's own voice comes through clearly. The three players revelled in the beautiful slow movement, with its dipping and swaying figures, and the stately Menuetto was a reminder that Schubert could write popular tunes, the kind used for music boxes.
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The more serious stuff came in the evening concert, with a performance of the familiar but much loved String Quintet in C, the impressionistic piano work, Moments Musicaux, and the mature Piano Trio in B flat.
The Wye Valley must come to Bristol again.