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27 October - 28 November 2007
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The Herald
20 November 2007

John Kenny and the Edinburgh Quartet,
Woodend Barn Arts Centre, Banchory


In addition to virtuoso trombonist John Kenny, there should have been a harp player with the Edinburgh Quartet on Thursday, but with Hugh Webb indisposed the entire programme had to be changed.

Nothing daunted, after his offstage Fanfare for Solo Trombone, John Kenny proceeded to astound the audience with a rip-roaring comic performance piece entitled La Belle et la Bête.

It culminated in a trombone striptease in which various components of the instrument were handed to the audience until only part of the slide was left and Kenny still managed to squeeze a tune out of that.

Beethoven's Quartet in A Op 18 No 5 could have seemed tame after such burlesque drollery but the Edinburgh Quartet made their Beethoven sizzle with a high-voltage performance, while in Eddie McGuire's Guest Quintet, the unlikely blend of trombone and quartet really jelled.

Etienne Rolin's Quick Sands for solo trombone was a vehicle for Kenny to demonstrate that the instrument can be made to imitate almost any sound from a pop gun to a steam train.

To follow, the Edinburgh Quartet gave us Quartet No 2 Op 26 by the Greek composer Philippos Tsalahouris. Its opening bars suggested the soundtracks of Hitchcock's more macabre suspense films but the second movement was surely a big fat Greek wedding.

Carrado Saglietti was once principal horn with the RAI orchestra in Italy. He now writes film music and his Suite for alto trombone and string quartet was just that: a gorgeous piece of light music to top the most astonishingly wide-ranging selection of music I have ever heard in a single concert.


Copyright Alan Cooper - published in The Herald, Glasgow (Newsquest Media Group)



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