SIRIUS CHAMBER ENSEMBLE 26th April, 2014
Glebe Justice Centre (formerly Glebe Cafe Church)
The core players in the Sirius Chamber Ensemble, as evidenced in the recital in the informal surrounds of the Glebe Justice Centre, make up a wind quintet. This is an ensemble that has limited repertoire as it only came about well after the great composers of the 18th and 19th century had died. With this in mind the programming for this group is as innovative as is possible, bringing in other instrumentalists to expand the available choice of music.
Pianist Paul Myers joined violinist Martyn Hentschel and clarinettist Ian Sykes in the most substantial work of the evening, Bartok’s Contrasts. In the opening movement Sykes’ delighted with perfectly placed phrasings and a most beautiful tone. Myers found the right balance throughout and brought a charming and evocative lightness of touch to everything he played. Hentschel performed with vigour and excitement in the folk-inspired finale.
The other major work was for the core wind quintet, Ligeti’s Bartok-influenced Six Bagatelles from 1953. This early work in Ligeti’s output is a wonderful vehicle for all the musicians to display their skills. Hornist Julia Zeltzer mastered the often extreme writing and Melissa Coleman, flute/piccolo and oboist Alex Fontaine were both assured in the often virtuosic music. Underpinning all the upper parts throughout this quintet was confident and sensitive playing from bassoonist Alison Evans.
The rest of program comprised mostly inconsequential but pleasant works by Farkas, Kovacs and Szekely, all well played but not lasting in the musical memory longer than the performance itself.
What impressed was how this was music-making with a smile – there was a determination on the part of the performers to give to the audience and the audience responded with enthusiasm.