Review: Mendelssohn Chamber Music, Octagon Chapel, Norwich

The Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2015 Ns at the Forum. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY.

The Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2015 Ns at the Forum. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

Joined by Agata Daraskaite and Henry Tong (violins), Rosalind Ventris (viola) and Steffan Morris (cello), Northern Chords concluded its informative and enjoyable series of performances of Mendelssohn's chamber music with his Octet, one of his first major compositions. It is marvellous testimony to his precocious and carefully nurtured talent that he could write a work of such length, complexity and assurance for a friend's birthday when himself only in his mid-teens.

This performance with its rich instrumental colour was full of drama, and the players' vigour, obvious commitment and evident enjoyment, with smiles all round, drew an enthusiastic response from the audience.

The recital also included Mendelssohn's Second String Quintet, with the extra viola contributing to a rather darker tone, and his Sixth String Quartet. From the composer's later years, it is generally held to be in some measure a reflection of his grief after the recent death of his gifted sister Fanny.

Though following patterns that had become familiar and with characteristic directions for emphatic interpretation, the work gave an impression of greater maturity as it conveyed stronger emotions and deeper seriousness of outlook.

Christopher Smith

The concert was part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival's Mendelssohn Project.

Most Read

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter