Haydn and the Gypsies, Snape

CHRISTOPHER SMITH Sentiment and swagger, high spirits and deep melancholy – these were the features of the gypsy fashion as conveyed with gusto and expertise by Monica Huggett and her Sonnerie ensemble of period instruments.

CHRISTOPHER SMITH

Sentiment and swagger, high spirits and deep melancholy, scales that carried extra emotion in flattened intervals and catchy melodies that paused for dramatic effect before rushing on irresistibly – these were the features of the gypsy fashion as conveyed with gusto and expertise by Monica Huggett and her Sonnerie ensemble of period instruments.

The music played by travelling bands in lands to the east of Vienna naturally attracted 18th century musicians like Joseph Haydn. His Piano Trio in G with its “Hungarian Rondo” became all the more interesting in a programme that illustrated its cultural context.

The emphasis was on the art of the fiddler, deftly negotiating every difficulty and never missing any chance to show off volatility. Matthew Halls' fine account of Hummel's 1823 “Hungarian Dancers” on the fortepiano was a reminder of what an important place the cimbalon also had.


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Haydn's String Quartet in C was the major item in the second half. It was live and crisp, if a little dry, but with beautifully poised cello arpeggios. Monica Huggett's leadership was inspirational, and markedly good-humoured.

t Hayden and the Gypies was performed at the Maltings Concert Hall.

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