Ensemble 360 & Marina Lewycka (Music in the Round)
Crucible Studio Theatre
Marina Lewycka was relieved to see Benjamin Nabarro and Tim Horton still standing at the end of Szymanowski’s Nocturne and Tarantella for violin and piano.
“I’m glad to see you both are still alive,” she said after a demonic account of the Tarantella.
Ostensibly, the music performed touched on the celebrated novelist’s Ukrainian family background and musical experiences.
It touched very loosely on background without any personal significance, the only musical experience of any note to emerge being the writer hearing and being taken by part of a Bach Brandenburg Concerto at the age of five or six in Gainsborough.
The main thrust of ‘conversation’ element was discovering similarities between writing a novel and the construction of music leading to some fascinating parallels, occasionally obvious but not something you necessarily think about.
The music was superbly played throughout, another violin/ piano piece being Prokofiev’s Five Mélodies – the Five Songs Without Words mildly tweaked in places for the violinist to show off their technique.
Indeed, around 50 years ago, Ben Nabarro would have been more readily seen as the virtuoso violinist that he is – a ‘star name’, in all likelihood!
Chopin certainly didn’t tax the violinist in his early Piano Trio. In fact, the violin can be said to be there for the ride, the cello – here, the excellent Gemma Rosefield – occasionally having more imaginative flights of inspiration.
Almost an exercise in writing a piano trio along Beethovian lines, its highly prominent and more enterprising piano part – brilliantly played, as always, by Tim Horton – makes it nearly concerto-like.
He kept piano sonorities to a minimum for the always-mellifluous Adrian Wilson’s account of Bach’s doubtful Oboe (flute) Sonata BWV1031, its ‘galant’ fingerprints suggesting CPE Bach possibly penned it, not his dad, JS.
With Andrew Watson no mean substitute for the injured Amy Harman, Poulenc’s Trio for oboe, bassoon and piano was sheer delight.