HEBRIDES ENSEMBLE, WOODEND BARN, BANCHORY
North-east Scotland's second sound Festival is already well under way. Sunday afternoon's concert in Woodend Barn featured the Hebrides Ensemble with, in the first half of the performance, two members of the Scottish Dance Theatre.
Stravinsky's Suite: The Soldier's Tale was the principal focus of Sunday's concert and the selection of short pieces in the first half had been chosen with startling ingenuity to complement the main work. Duos by Roussel and Poulenc, contemporaries of Stravinsky, flanked music by Kurtág, Berio and Arvo Pärt. Pärt's Pari Intervallo, in a new setting for clarinet, trombone and strings, was given a visual counterpoint by dancers James Macgillivray and Victoria Roberts of the SDTheatre. Their contribution echoed the dance element in Stravinsky's original work.
The contrasting instrumental ensembles used for these short pieces allied to the truly superb playing of the performers kept the audience on edge. In Roussel's Duo for Bassoon and Double Bass, Julian Roberts and Enno Senft revealed the amazing versatility and breadth of sound latent within these instruments. In Poulenc's Sonata for clarinet and bassoon, Julian Roberts was paired with Yann Ghiro in a breathtaking virtuosi performance. The string trio that played Kurtág's Trio was no less thrilling, while the exuberance of the dancers ensured that the relative stasis of Pärt's music did not pall.
Best of all, though, were the burning intensity and the rhythmic excitement of The Soldier's Tale, with a sizzling performance from violinist Alexander Janiczek and the glowing sound of the cornet, Stravinsky's original choice of instrument for this piece, beautifully played by Angela Whelan.
Copyright Alan Cooper - published in The Herald, Glasgow (Newsquest Media Group)