Sublime chamber music for lunchtime is the promise as Ensemble Reza return to St John’s Chapel, St John’s Street on Wednesday, June 19 at 1pm for the Festival of Chichester.
Based in the Haywards Heath and East Grinstead area, Ensemble Reza has been going for around seven years now, says founder Pavlos Carvalho.
Its aim was simple – to produce high-quality music close to home for audiences close to home.
“We are a group of friends most of us and we were working in London.”
Ensemble Reza became a way of taking London out of the equation, at least for a bit… a way of avoiding hours spent travelling and a way of spending more time with their families.
“Logistically and practically, it was all about playing music with people that we wanted to play with. We have all reached the age where we have got families, and you can’t always be going up to London, all that time to travel and then three hours for rehearsals and then travelling back. However remarkable the place you are playing, there is a point where the performance of the music becomes more important as a way of getting together with people that you want to be with.
“We are mostly Haywards Heath and also East Grinstead, but there are now also one or two friends who do come down to play with us from London simply because they are amazing friends. But the point was not to have to go to London. It originally started for us to have the opportunity to play beautiful music of the highest quality to a local audience. It was for us to be able to play the music that we wanted to play, that it was us making the choice, but it was also so that audiences didn’t have to go to London either with all the expense of getting up there and back. It meant that we could offer music of the highest quality to people right here. And that has spread. We also do a lot of educative work. We are now doing outreach work as well.”
For their Festival of Chichester concert, Ensemble Reza will be offering the Brahms Sextet No 1 in Bb major – principally because this was a piece they were asked to do.
“But it is a remarkable piece. It is a ground-breaking piece. When he was composing it, he was in the shadows of Beethoven and Schubert, and this was the first major chamber music piece that he wrote. He was trying to find a way to write that would not be compared to the brilliant pieces that had been written before.
“With the piece, you have got the most amazing symbiosis of intellect hand in hand with heart on sleeve music. It is dripping with romance. You have a gorgeous set of variations. You have elements of folk music, but it is above all this really beautiful lyricism that runs throughout the piece. It is intellectual music, but you can totally lose yourself in the piece. It is real heart on the sleeve romance. You think of the Russians being more heart on the sleeve and the Germans being more suppressed, but when you hear Brahms’ music, it is like reading the letters that he wrote – letters that are absolutely out there. Now we are a bit cynical in the way we approach romance, but when you look at that age, they were these shamelessly romantic letters. There is nothing hidden and no half measures… and that is what the music is like.”
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