Acoustic Triangle

IAN COLLINS Norwich Cathedral (Norfolk and Norwich Festival)


Norwich Cathedral (Norfolk and Norwich Festival)

Ever since it was the only instrument left in the school music cupboard when I got to make my “choice”, I've had a thing about the double bass - wondering how anyone could possibly play it.

I stood on a stool to reach strings like gigantic electric cables that were impossible for 10-year-old fingers to hold down when twanged.

So bravo Malcolm Creese, the part of Acoustic Triangle striking the strongest chord with me (and soothing sore memories) on an evening when Norwich Cathedral had never seemed so cavernous.

Tim Garland's saxophones and bass clarinet may have sent wisps and waves of sound soaring towards the fan vaulting high above us as he led in his own compositions such as Black Elk and Beyond the City the Stars.

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Gwilym Simcock's piano and French horn may have sent cascades of notes tinkling and wafting through the Norman arches on everything from the Irving Berlin standard How Deep is the Ocean? to jazzy reworkings of antique French dances.

(For this non-electric trio is nothing if not eclectic.)

But it took the amplified introductions to each piece to show us just we at the back (way, way back) were missing.

So much of the intimate music was muddied and muffled.

And for those who were not on the guest list for the sponsor's reception a 30-minute interval made for too long a wait.

The second half should indeed have been special as the triangle swelled to nine, absorbing six friends (including the Secconi Trio) for pieces including the Garland festival commission Dark Entry.

But, sadly, by then, the back rows felt excluded from the party.