Skip to content

Kaleidoscopic versatility

The Spectator, Richard Bratby

Gabriel Fauré composed his song cycle La bonne chanson in 1894 for piano and voice. But he added string parts later and he premièred that version in April 1898 at the London home of his friend Frank Schuster: 22 Old Queen Street, the building currently occupied by this very magazine. I’m not sure how much Fauré gets played at Spectator HQ these days; his music certainly hasn’t been a feature of recent summer parties…

The studio theatre at the Crucible doesn’t exactly evoke the belle époque either, but on this occasion that hardly mattered. It’s a utilitarian black box, but the atmosphere it generates – with audience closely packed on all four sides of the performance space – is wonderfully immediate, especially when (as on this occasion) it’s filled to capacity…

The instrumentalists were Ensemble 360 – the resident ensemble of the Sheffield Chamber Music Festival – and the singer was Roderick Williams…

…Earlier, in Ravel’s Chansons madécasses, [Roderick Williams had] practically shaken the walls in the second song ‘Aoua!’ (in which Ravel, canny as ever, futureproofs himself by setting a ferocious denunciation of French colonialism). The players of Ensemble 360 (here, a flute, a cello and a piano – the group’s kaleidoscopic versatility is one of its strengths) responded with explosive force.

In truth, though, they’d been playing out of their seats all night. The eerie, humid sounds that Ravel drew from a high cello and a low piccolo were redolent of woodsmoke and tropical musk: Tim Horton, the group’s long-serving pianist and (you sensed) its rock, was particularly fine here.

“But in La bonne chanson and (earlier) Fauré’s D minor Piano Quintet they surged, glittered and swelled, with a powerful sense of sap rising.”

After the interval, the strings were replaced by five wind players for a tangy account of Poulenc’s Sextet – bold primary colours splashing, Raoul Dufy-like, against Horton’s crisply inked outlines…

Related Concert(s):
And in case you missed it...

An evocative, fine-tuned performance

The opening work, the Morceau de concert for horn and piano, was chiefly a way of spotlighting Ensemble 360’s wonderful…

Intimate chamber music of the highest rank

Seen and Heard International, Colin Clarke The Sheffield Chamber Music Festival continued with this superbly and intelligently programmed evening of…

This performance was thrilling

This performance was thrilling Bachtrack, Phil Parker Four Stars … It was, truthfully, a remarkable concert that will live long…

Every track brings satisfaction

Geoff Brown, The Times Four Stars Written a century and more later, the music composed by Huw Watkins is far…

A triumph for all concerned

Phil Parker, BachTrack ***** … the performances were a triumph for all concerned. … Performances [of Prokofiev’s Cello Sonata] are…

Crisp capriciousness

The Strad, Edward Bhesania Edward Bhesania spends the afternoon of New Year’s Eve 2023 at London’s Wigmore Hall for some…

The incredible range and dynamism of the Trio Meister Raro

Carlisle Music Society, Carolyn Fyfe

Ligeti in context: a superb centenary tribute

Bachtrack, Phil Parker When Ensemble 360’s oboist Adrian Wilson prefaced this performance of György Ligeti’s Ten Pieces for Wind Quintet by describing it as “notorious”…

Very precise touch … a masterly performance

The Arts Desk, David Nice Any chamber music festival that kicks off with Czech genius Martinů’s Parisian jeu d’esprit ballet-sextet La revue de cuisine and ends…

Stott and Horton deserved their standing ovation

Bachtrack, Phil Parker Joy amidst tears: Kathryn Stott and Tim Horton’s triumphant Rachmaninov … Kathryn Stott and Tim Horton played…

A booster shot of cultural optimism

The Spectator, Richard Bratby … For a booster shot of cultural optimism there’s always Sheffield, where the resident Ensemble 360…

Power and precision, then delicacy and dreams

Bachtrack, Steve Draper

Tim’s mellifluous tones sweeping over us

Peak Music Society What a wonderful way to spend a summer evening, listening to pianist Tim Horton at the Cavendish…

Tim Horton’s unaffected, heartfelt playing is perfectly judged

The Arts Desk, Graham Rickson

Lovely Litolff From The Leonore Piano Trio

Classics Today, Jed Distler

Hubert Parry’s Obscure-Yet-Worthy Piano Trios

Classics Today, Jed Distler

Raw noise and mixed emotions

The Times, Paul Driver

Leonore does Lalo

Classics Today, Jed Distler

Tim Horton shone

The Guardian, Alfred Hickling

Revelatory playing

The Observer, Stephen Pritchard
Back To Top