Dussek and Dante Quartet Play Sensational Schumann

12/07/2012

  Mozart, Schumann, Britten, Brahms: Dante Quartet – Krysia Osostowicz & Giles Francis (violins), Rachel Roberts (viola) & Richard Jenkinson (cello), Stephen Stirling (horn) & Michael Dussek (piano), Church of St Mary, Callington. UK 11.7.2012 (PRB)

Mozart: Horn Quintet in E flat, K 407
Schumann
: Piano Quintet in E flat, Op 44
Britten
: Elegy for Solo Viola (1930)
Brahms
: Horn Trio in E flat, Op 40

The second concert in this year’s Dante Summer Festival, held in the Tamar Valley, nestling at the border between the UK’s most south-westerly counties, Devon and Cornwall, moved across the River Tamar to the small ancient market town of Callington in south east Cornwall, internationally famous for its Honey Fair and Mural trail. Here was literally a veritable cornucopia of music, given in front of a packed audience, in the town’s parish church.

For not only was the Dante Quartet joined by pianist, Michael Dussek, the concert also featured top UK horn-player, Stephen Stirling, in a programme entitled ‘Sound the Horn’.

Mozart’s charming Horn Quintet in E flat provided an ideal opener, where the playing was of the highest order throughout, but especially set apart by the sheer ease with which Stirling negotiated all the tricky moments with consummate agility, while effortlessly controlling a wide dynamic range throughout and maintaining a delightfully well-rounded tone at all times.

Until he was thirty, Schumann wrote almost exclusively for the piano, but come 1840, he began to branch out into other forms, with a ‘chamber music’ year following on in 1842. This was the time of his great Piano Quartet in E flat, and its so-called ‘creative double’, the Piano Quintet, also in the same key. Here, as an avowed innovator, he was the first significant composer to attempt to write for piano and string quartet where the piano’s role was equal to that of the strings combined.

One of the obvious disadvantages of bringing this kind of chamber music to relatively small local churches is that the majority will lack the provision of even a half-decent piano. Dussek proved simply outstanding in the glorious Piano Quintet, even if the specially-brought-in instrument wasn’t really man enough to compete on an equal playing-field, and called for perhaps a slightly larger model, but certainly one of European origin.

In the event though, Dussek played both with immense fire and passion, but also exhibited the most delicate of touches where the music demanded, and all finely matched by the quartet’s equally telling contribution. Despite the piano’s slight inadequacy, Dussek nevertheless skilfully ensured that he and the Dantes, who never once felt the need to hold back in this generous outpouring of pure Romantic expression, were all but equal protagonists, culminating in what was a quite sensational performance.

Benjamin Britten’s Elegy for Solo Viola is a comparatively recent discovery. Not performed until the 1984 Aldeburgh (Sussex) Festival (by Nobuko Imai), it was written the day after the composer left Gresham’s School at the age of sixteen. He had only been there for two years and had disliked the experience. However, once he had actually taken leave of his friends and masters, he said ‘I didn’t think I should be sorry to leave’, but found that he missed them all the same. This Elegy, which he probably wrote to play himself, expresses his feelings at that time.

There was, therefore, a somewhat tenuous link between Britten’s piece and the closing item, Brahms’ Horn Trio, written in memory of his mother, who had died earlier in the year of its composition. However, despite a superb and moving performance by Rachel Roberts, the Elegy came over more as a kind of ‘programme-filler’, though if it did succeed in highlighting the true greatness of the work to follow, even acknowledging that the latter was written by a composer at the height of his creative power, rather than the outset.

Stirling gave a most compelling mini-lecture on the work, where he elaborated on his own interpretation of various key points during its four movements, and any perceived biographical links they might have to the composer’s life, during one of Brahms’ most anguished periods. The performance itself must surely rank as one of the best instances of chamber-music playing heard for a very long time, distinguished by the correspondingly first-rate piano-playing of Dussek, and Osostowicz’s highly-sympathetic and suitably impassioned contribution

 

Philip R Buttall

Print Friendly

Comments

Comments are closed.

Recent Reviews

MW

Facebook-button-1

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera Celebrates its 25th Anniversary with Nicolò Isouard’s Cinderella __________________________________
  • NEW! Pop-Up Opera’s 2018 Mozart Double Bill __________________________________
  • NEW! Zurich Opera in 2018/2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! Let’s Dance International Frontiers (LDIF) 2018 Celebrates its Eighth Year __________________________________
  • NEW! Gloucester Choral Society’s Hubert Parry’s Centenary Celebrations in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Chess at the London Coliseum from 26 April for 5 Weeks __________________________________
  • NEW! The Three Choirs Festival 2018: A Preview __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 Season at the Royal Opera House __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018 Cheltenham Music Festival – 30 June to 15 July __________________________________
  • NEW! Staatsoper Unter de Linden in 2018/19 __________________________________
  • NEW! St Petersburg Ballet Theatre Bring Swan Lake to London in August __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Ballet Announces its 2018-19 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! The Cleveland Orchestra’s 2018-19 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Booking Open for Longborough Festival Opera 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Additional Tickets Now Available for Nevill Holt Opera’s Le nozze di Figaro __________________________________
  • NEW! Leeds Lieder’s Four-Day Celebration of Art Song in April 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! World Premiere by Novaya Opera of Pushkin – The Opera in the Theatre in the Woods __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! Chelsea Opera Group Perform Massenet’s Thaïs at the Cadogan Hall on 23 June __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Carly Paoli Sings for Chelsea Pensioners, at Cadogan Hall, and Signs for Sony/ATV __________________________________
  • NEW! A Q&A WITH ITALIAN BARITONE FRANCO VASSALLO __________________________________
  • NEW! A First Charity Classical Music Concert at Finchcocks on 27 May __________________________________
  • NEW! MICHAEL SANDERLING IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • NEW! Trinity Laban Moves to Abolish All-Male Composer Concerts __________________________________
  • NEW! ARABELLA STEINBACHER IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella in Cinemas on 15 May with Live Q&A __________________________________
  • NEW! THE CONDUCTOR LAURENCE EQUILBEY IN CONVERSATION WITH COLIN CLARKE __________________________________
  • NEW! Newly Discovered Song by Alma Mahler to be Performed in Oxford and Newbury __________________________________
  • NEW! A Q&A WITH LISETTE OROPESA AS SHE RETURNS TO LA OPERA FOR ORFEO ED EURIDICE __________________________________
  • NEW! A Q&A WITH ANDREA CARÈ AS HE RETURNS TO COVENT GARDEN AS DON JOSÉ __________________________________
  • NEW! Rafael de Acha Introduces Some of Cincinnati’s New Musical Entrepreneurs __________________________________
  • Search S&H

    Archives by Week

    Archives by Month