Haffner Wind Ensemble, Norwich

MICHAEL DRAKE Technically brilliant, of course, but the Haffners also brought so much humour to their playing, not least in Malcolm Arnold’s Three Shanties.

MICHAEL DRAKE

It was all just so musical – and you must heavily stress that last word to know exactly what I mean.

Technically brilliant, of course, but the Haffners also brought so much humour to their playing, not least in Malcolm Arnold's Three Shanties.

Later Paul Patterson's Comedy for Five Winds was to show the same trait, in fact the final hornpipe was very reminiscent of Arnold.

Here, though, was more moodiness, from a real musical chinwag via a haunting horn melancholy to atmospheric blues.

But the joviality returned as the wind quintet was joined, direct from Warwick Festival, by the young pianist Alexandre Tharaud in a colourful and emphatically stated Sextet by Poulenc.

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Each instrument was always clearly defined and it was particularly gratifying to hear the warm, dark tones of the bassoon away from its usual orchestral backseat.

Earlier, the same composer's Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano, a herald of brightness, was just so joyously performed.

It was that sort of concert and a delightful 'folksy' programme of thorough entertainment. Another one to savour later on BBC Radio 3.

t The Haffner Wind Ensemble were performing at the John Innes Centre.

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