Another instalment of Music in the Round's Love and War festival saw the Studio packed out for a lunchtime recital. Entitled ‘A Meeting of Minds’, the programme scheduled three twentieth-century works whose composers had all been in New York at the start of the Cold War: Copland, Bernstein, and Shostakovich.
Bernstein's ebullient Clarinet Sonata of 1942 was first up, with Matthew Hunt (clarinet) and Tim Horton (piano) playing as equal partners in an energetic performance. From the first movement, an American take on Hindemith's pared-down brand of modernist tonality, through to the final jazzy Vivace, Hunt found spaciousness amid the wheeling virtuosity of the phrases.
The original programming of the remaining two works had to be changed at short notice due to the unexpected illness of cellist Gemma Rosefield. Chamber works by Copland and Shostakovich were replaced by Dutilleux's bassoon showpiece Sarabande et cortège from 1942 and Mozart's Kegelstatt Trio in E flat major, K. 498. The Dutilleux was played brilliantly by Ensemble 360's Amy Harman, mixing supple virtuosity with a warm tone, lending a particular colour to notes at the extremes of the register. Harman explained that she was to play the piece in a competition at the Wigmore Hall later in the week; we were privileged to hear it first.
Horton and Hunt were joined by Krzysztof Chorzelski (viola) for Mozart's Kegelstatt Trio to round off the concert. The work brought out the players' natural feel for chamber music; always deeply musical, all three responded with the necessary light and shade. Hunt communicated the contours of his lines especially, projecting the shape of every phrase. The interplay between players was consistently sensitive, from the quietly ecstatic opening to the joyfully flowing finale.
As Hunt reminded in introducing the recital, Bernstein responded movingly to the assassination of John F. Kennedy with the words 'this will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before' – adjectives that also sum up nicely the lunchtime music-making of these three musicians.