Goldberg Ensemble, Burnham Thorpe

The very first notes of Mendelssohn's Octet sets the hairs tingling on the back of any music lover's neck. Saturday's performance of the work by the Goldberg Ensemble playing at Burnham Thorpe, sustained the excitement and interest through the entire work.

The very first notes of Mendelssohn's Octet sets the hairs tingling on the back of any music lover's neck. Saturday's performance of the work by the Goldberg Ensemble playing at Burnham Thorpe, sustained the excitement and interest through the entire work.

The achievement of Malcolm Layfield, violinist and director of the group, was in harnessing the dynamic spontaneity of his young colleagues into a performance that had control and purpose. The tremendous, cumulative power of the final presto, for example, was all the more dramatic because the preceding scherzo was treated with an almost uniform, sustained, sotto voce, urgency. The result was a performance that had a distinct 'wow' factor.

The Goldberg's other octet of the evening was by Niels Gade, a Dane who was a friend of Mendelssohn. Octet for octet of course it was simply no contest. Gade's work was tuneful, well constructed and enjoyable – Mendelssohn's was a unique work of genius. The Gade was not music in the Mendelssohn league, but it was rewarding music to play and to hear.

The third work in the programme was the Sextet from Capriccio by Richard Strauss. Vintage pudding wine it showed the group's ensemble playing at its sweetest and best.

The Goldberg Ensemble were performing in the Burnham Market Concerts series. It brought the summer season to a close on Sunday morning with a concert at Burnham Norton church.

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