Munster Clarinet Trio

CHRISTOPHER SMITH John Innes Centre, Norwich


John Innes Centre, Norwich

A trio sponsored by the Countess of Munster Trust performed a programme of lively works at the Norfolk and Norwich Chamber Music recital.

Expressing the spirit of the time, they bounced with energy, even downright cheekiness. Impatient with 19th-century traditions, they sometimes echoed American jazz or took folk themes and put zip into them.

The three young instrumentalists clearly enjoyed the opportunities for confident displays of skill.

Milhaud's incidental music for Jean Anouilh's bitter-sweet 1937 comedy about a soldier's homecoming set the mood. It was an entertaining mix of emotion and whimsy.

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Always crisp in phrasing and delightfully acrobatic, Timothy Orpen's clarinet was occasionally rather too dominant in louder passages. So Cerys Jones was tempted to put an edge on her violin tone, while pianist Ouri Bronchti was not quite an equal partner.

The combination of the three worked better in the suite that Stravinsky put together from his score for The Soldier's Tale. The three dance movements came across as amusing cynical parodies of popular styles.

Bartok's Contrast worked well, and the players brought out the spirit of three episodes that captured Hungarian traditions, and translated them into more challenging forms.

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