News and Reviews
Review: After:HOURS concert
Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham - Tuesday 2nd November 2010
Three composers born centuries apart, but each one inspiring the next, figured in Viva's well attended late-night fling.
Stravinsky said that J.S. Bach's two-part Inventions were at the back of his mind when he wrote the third and last movement of his Octet, comprising flute and clarinet, bassoons, trumpets and trombones.
Viva set the ball rolling with the slow introduction to a bubbly Sinfonia. Then came a set of variations based on a waltz theme, each of them prefaced by ribbons of scales. Directed by André de Ridder, the eight carefully balanced players continually struck sparks off one another, while finding poetry in quieter passages.
Natalie Clein performed the second of Bach's six solo cello suites, in the sombre key of D minor. It was, she suggested, a reflection of the death of the composer's first wife – and you can read it in a copy made by her successor, Anna Magdalena. Clein showed how Bach put his heart and soul into the suite with a contemplative prelude and richly stylised dances from different countries: an allemande, courante, sarabande and double minuet.
In the closing jig, the smile on her face was matched by the radiance of her execution.
Stravinsky claimed the instrumental pairings in his Octet were the product of a dream. Anna Meredith, Viva's young house composer, used dream-like snatches of that work for a display of controlled energy from the same great little combo – a fine epilogue.
Review by Peter Palmer.