REVIEW: Funtington Music Group

The Funtington Music Group welcomed Irena Marie Rieband [horn] and accompanist Matthew Shipton [piano] at the University of Chichester.

This was an extrovert and expressive performance by both musicians, playing lesser known pieces from composers from the 19th and 20th Centuries in a stunningly accomplished performance.

The introductory piece Four Capriccios for Solo Horn by George Vass was an example of the variety of sounds that can emanate from the horn.

Moving onto the Sonata for Horn and Piano by Hindemith, the piece, written in 1939 after Hindmith had fled Germany, was full of understandable dynamic tension and dramatic and invigorating rhythms that the two musicians managed marvellously. No audience nowadays considers the difficulty of playing the horn, and yet this composition pushes the technical demands of the player to the limits. Irena allowed the listener not even to consider what a fiendishly difficult instrument she was playing. It was a stunningly accomplished performance.

Before the interval the duo played Themes and Variations by Franz Strauss, himself an accomplished horn player. This selection was noteworthy for its colours and melodic style which is perhaps nowadays more unusual in a modern piece written for the horn.

The second half of the concert included a piece by Alan Abbott, which was romantic and almost reminiscent of some film music. Then a piece by Kerry Turner, Sonata for Horn and Piano, a challenge to any horn player and often used in musical competitions. Both musicians excelled, and accompanist Matthew Shipton was throughout the concert an exemplary partner, by turns delicate, colourfully nimble and thunderously firm.

David Tinsley, chairman of the Funtington Music Group, said, “This was a special evening where we heard new pieces beautifully interpreted by Irena on one of the most difficult instruments in the orchestra, with Matthew as a first rate accompanist who was so responsive to the nuances of the music.”

Further details of the Funtington Music Group can be obtained from the Membership Secretary, Elizabeth Brooks, on 01243 378900.