REVIEW BY Chris Linford
The Endymion Ensemble played for The Funtington Music Group at their Summer Concert on 12 June at the University of Chichester.
The programme chosen by these very experienced world class musicians began with a performance of Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No 5 in F Major Opus 24. Named after Beethoven’s death as the Spring Sonata, Krysia Osostowicz [violin] and Michael Dussek [piano] melded the music seamlessly, with flawless technique and sparkling, serene or calm musicianship as required. Both artists were noticeably sympathetic to the demands of the other player’s instrument, so that the performance of the Sonata was a triumph and extremely well-received by the audience.
The next piece chosen was Ligeti’s Trio for horn, violin and piano. This work, written in 1982 to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Brahms birth in 1983, is known as “Hommage a Brahms”. Stephen Stirling [Horn] joined the Trio at this point and introduced the piece. As Stephen helpfully explained, the piece “blends energetic rhythms, with deftly textured writing, and sharply contrasting harmonies”. The music does not however sound remotely like Brahms and the audience were certainly challenged by Ligeti’s music, but one of the strategies of the Funtington Music Group is to widen the musical knowledge and experience of its members. The Trio played this difficult late 20th Century piece with brilliant precision and immense expertise. The second movement, involving many diverse cultural influences from the Caribbean, Africa and Europe, was a particular success. The conclusion of the final rather poignant movement was also played expressively, with fascinating extremes of sound, from the pounding of the low notes on the piano, to, in complete contrast, the eerily diminishing, high, and haunting sounds of the violin.
After a very enjoyable buffet, the audience returned to hear the Trio for horn, violin and piano, Opus 40, by Brahms. The Trio played this consummately well, thriving on the variety of the musical timbres that the composer created. For instance the way in which the musicians moved apparently so effortlessly between the delicacy and tranquillity of the third movement Adagio to the passionate and exuberant climax of the fourth’s Allegro was a joy to admire.
As Chris Hough, Chairman of the Funtington Music Group, said, “This was an evening to remember when we have been entertained by three so talented artists who are at the top of their profession. It was also a privilege for us to be able to welcome back Stephen Stirling, and his colleagues, to perform for our Music Group.”
Further details of the Funtington Music Group can be obtained from the Membership Secretary, Mrs Elizabeth Brooks, on 01243 378900.