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Chamber music of beauty

PUBLISHED: 08:32 12 February 2001 | UPDATED: 15:03 22 October 2010

Mobius Septet @ John Innes Centre, Norwich. By Frank Cliff.

Mobius Septet @ John Innes Centre, Norwich

By Frank Cliff

I can think of few better ways of spending a Sunday afternoon than listening to such an attractive programme of mixed chamber music as that performed by the London-based Mobius Septet – flute, clarinet, harp and string quartet.

In the Mozart clarinet quintet, the only work of the first half, the clarinettist was Norfolk-born Robert Plane. It was an immaculate performance, clarinet and string quartet producing a perfectly-balanced sound.

There were many beautifully-judged moments, such as the haunting clarinet pianissimo at the return of the principal theme of the larghetto, and the touch of ornamentation at the repeat of the slow variation in the finale.

The second half brought a different sound. In his sonata for flute, viola and harp, Debussy creates ravishing sounds for this esoteric combination, and there was ravishing playing from Anna Payne's flute, Ashon Pillai's viola and Alison Nicholls's harp.

Gavin Bryer's “The North Shore” for viola and harp supposedly evokes the austere world of the Northumbrian coast, but this attractive and imaginative work sounded more elegiac than austere.

Scored as it is for their combination, Ravel's Introduction and Allegro is a work Mobius are very familiar with and was the concluding item.

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