Chamber Music No.8

Piccola musica notturna
The Coroner’s Report [BBC commission: world premiere]
La revue de cuisine

Rolf Hind (piano)

Britten Sinfonia
Nicholas Daniel (oboe)

Reviewed by: Kenneth Carter

Reviewed: 6 September, 2004
Venue: Lecture Theatre, Victoria & Albert Museum, London

The Concertino began well. Rolf Hind thumped out the blunt, bare opening declaration authoritatively. Martin Owen’s horn answered him sweetly, gravely and consistently. Hind, meanwhile, began to scamper pointlessly and automatically. In the second movement, Joy Farrall’s clarinet scurried about with every sign of strain – too many notes played faster than she found comfortable. (I have blissful memories of Mark van de Wiel of Endymion playing the same passage in hauntingly relaxed fashion last year.) The violins, Marianne Thorsen and Miranda Dale, were telling. In the last movement, the ensemble made its mark.

Dallapiccola put the Britten Sinfonia at its ease. The music was gentler, quieter, less difficult, idiosyncratic or dangerous. It evoked night-time and stars, giving the players a chance to lose themselves in grave beauty of tone. Joy Farrall and Anna Pyne (flute), were most effective and atmospheric.

The factual background to The Coroner’s Report was the gruesome discovery, several decades ago, of female remains found in a tree. The music’s five sections depict five important items of evidence, ranging from a scrap of paper to a portion of skin. Simon Holt’s music was suitably lugubrious, becoming ever more so as the work progressed. Gordon Laing’s contrabassoon darkened the atmosphere greatly; Martin Outram’s intermittent viola added an enigmatic mellow twang to the proceedings and Rolf Hind’s dexterity in playing the piano with his left hand and the celesta with his right was a tour de force.

La revue de cuisine was a joyful flourish – a celebration that ended both the concert and Proms Chamber Music for this season. The players delighted in projecting the antics of saucepan, lid, kettle and companions. A pompous march and a tango began the action. The pièce de resistance was the ‘Charleston’. Rolf Hind jazzed it up to the manner born – relaxed at the piano, at ease with himself; what a contrast to the tense figure, slightly hunched, during the Concertino. Paul Archibald (trumpet) matched Hind thoroughly in this colourful romp. The last movement, more the locals marching round the village-square, was just slightly self-conscious and sedate. Here, Sarah Burnett (bassoon) came into her own. I suspect she enjoyed the ‘Charleston’, too, but I couldn’t hear her above the piano and the trumpet.

  • Concert rebroadcast on BBC Radio 3 on Saturday 11 September at midday
  • BBC Proms 2004

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content