Serenade in C minor, K388 Stravinsky
Three Pieces for Clarinet Solo Nielsen
Serenta in Vano Matthew Taylor
Serenta Trionfale, Op.34 [London Premiere] Dvořák
Serenade in D minor for Winds, Op.44
Friday, May 16, 2008 Recital Room, Blackheath Halls, London SE3
Reviewed by Edward Clark
As usual with Tom Hammond and Sound Collective a recent work was included, here the Serenade Trionfale by Matthew Taylor. These performers have form on Taylor having premiered his Third Symphony a few years ago. Serenade Trionfale was composed straight after the symphony and much of the confidence heard in the latter is transplanted to it, particularly in its luminous scoring. Early years of study with Robin Holloway have left Taylor with the ability to offer polish and sophistication that is unusual in much contemporary music.
Scored for the same instruments as Mozart’s K388 – pairs of oboes, clarinets, bassoons and horns – the sonorities captured by Taylor give the impression of a bigger ensemble thanks to a cascade-effect among the instruments heard to particular advantage in the first movement. The work’s narrative draws upon the story line of Nielsen’s Serenata in Vano. Loves labours lost and exit with a shrug, according to Nielsen. Taylor takes this further and to equally winning effect so that the lively finale completed a most enjoyable work.
Beginning with Mozart, without conductor, this concert never disappointed. How could it when the artistry of the players was so immaculate and two of the composers were Mozart and Dvořák. Some acerbity was heard in the Three Pieces for solo clarinet by Stravinsky well projected by Stuart King.
Hammond, the founder of SC, produced some ravishing sounds from the Dvořák, which caresses our ears in the most delightful way, banishing, even if only briefly, thoughts of recent natural and man-made calamities in the wider world.