Park Lane Group – 8th January 2002

Reviewed by: Alexandra Opsahl

Reviewed: 8 January, 2002
Venue: Purcell Room, London

The early-evening recital of January 8 was given by Trio Tagarela, which consists of Amy Whittlesea, Lisete Da Silva and Emma Murphy, three recorder players who know exactly how an ensemble should work. Their sharpness and precision put an edge on an exciting choice of programme, making Trio Tagarela’s first appearance in the Park Lane Series a successful one.

Ranging from minimalism to jazz, the diverse programme produced moments of both intensity and humour. Beginning with Gyorgy Kurtag’s In Memoriam Myriam Marbe, a short tribute-piece to a Romanian composer who died in 1997, one who wrote several pieces for recorder, perhaps the most interesting piece of the recital was the world premiere of Trio by Benjamin Wallfisch. This explores many of the possibilities within the brief of the contemporary recorder. Wallfisch’s interest in the number three, in terms of number of players and musical construction, is explored by Trio becoming more and more transparent, ending with the three-note cell that is the work’s germ.

So Tear, by Willem van Nieuwkerk, provided another highlight, especially as it was so well executed by the trio. Trio Tagarela’s use of three renaissance treble recorders (the composer allows a choice) brought dynamism to this initially static, rhythmically-evolving piece of Minimalist persuasion with jazz and rock infiltration. Less convincing was the performance of Konrad Lechner’s Lumen in Tenebris in which the musicians use different types of recorder – from soprano to bass – and many contemporary playing techniques while being required to introduce various percussion instruments; it is therefore quite a challenge to maintain dramatic tension over the six movements.

The final music, New Moods for Flutes by Rainer G Buschmann, was predictably more of a display piece in its jazzy expression and rhythmic verve. As with the concert as a whole, it was played with such vitality that it could not fail to impress.

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