Edinburgh Festival Fringe music review: Nash Ensemble, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Susan Nickalls.
The Nash Ensemble launched the EIF’s morning concert series with panache, delivering brilliant performances of pieces which share similar back stories. Vaughan Williams’ Piano Quintet in C minor, written in Williams’ early thirties, was withdrawn in 1918 and only re-circulated 16 years ago.
While the luscious textures nod to Brahms and the rippling piano part to Ravel, the quintet reached into the heart of the work to find, and beautifully articulate, the composer’s distinctive voice. The viola, cello and double bass provided a mellow bedrock for the sweeping violin and piano passages with the players relishing the imaginative writing and moody reflectiveness of this masterpiece.
Although Schubert was 27 when he wrote his Octet, it wasn’t published until after his death. Its form owes much to Beethoven, but the complex rhythms, gorgeous melodies and masterful deployment of forces are entirely Schubert. The way the musicians, all fabulous soloists in their own right, knitted the music together was thrilling to hear and observe. They perfectly juggled the skipping rhythms in the opening movement, luxuriated in the charming adagio, gave a jaunty swagger to the theme and variations, enjoyed the playfulness of the minuet and trio and added a glitzy shimmer to the finale.
Published in The Scotsman on 10 August 2015
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