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A triumph for all concerned

Phil Parker, BachTrack
*****

… the performances were a triumph for all concerned.

… Performances [of Prokofiev’s Cello Sonata] are few and far between – pianist Tim Horton, in his almost 20 years with this ensemble, has turned his hand to a huge range of repertoire, but he pointed out beforehand that this was the first time he’d ever played the work. The sonata gripped from its first bars …

“… the cheers that greeted the close of the piece were well deserved”.

… Horton conjured vivid colours from the instrument as [Rachmianinov’s Piano Trio no. 1 in G minor] shifted between elegiac and more spirited moods before settling into something sombrely funereal at the close.

… Ensemble 360’s string players have a real love for Tchaikovsky’s quartets, something Nabarro expounded on before the work began, and it’s certainly the case that the second quartet needs passionate investment on the part of its performers. Special mention should go to Claudia Ajmone-Marsan on second violin and Rachel Roberts on viola, sawing away at their semiquavers almost throughout with barely any moment in the limelight, but contributing to the quartet’s rich, dense texture, the result sounding full but never cluttered.

“The first violin takes the principal role in the drama and Nabarro shone here. There was a touch of the gypsy violin to his playing, glimpses of portamento in his handling of the string line in the outer movements in particular.”

… If the soulful Andante ma non tanto touched something of the world-weariness of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, the exhilarating release of the folksy finale ensured much foot-stomping and cheering at the close.

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