Review: Contemporary Consort at King’s Lynn Festival

Contemporary Consort:  Vanessa McNaught, Sarah Thurlow, Thomas Hankey and  Ben Davies.

Contemporary Consort: Vanessa McNaught, Sarah Thurlow, Thomas Hankey and Ben Davies.

After all the noise and bustle of Festival Too, it made a pleasant change to enjoy the music of the Contemporary Consort quartet, set in the wonderfully dignified setting of the King’s Lynn Town Hall.

And it can’t be that often at a concert that two of the composers are sitting in the audience enjoying their own work!

The event started with an interesting conversation between eminent English composer David Matthews and Festival Artistic Director, Ambrose Miller, in which we learnt that David has written no less than seven symphonies and twelve string quartets. However he admitted he is not very good at actually playing musical instruments!

The music itself was an eclectic mix of new and old works for clarinet and strings, expertly played by the quartet. Amongst the more modern stuff, there was a sublime performance of the Schubert String Trio D.471.

Composers Benjamin L A Picard and David Matthews.

Composers Benjamin L A Picard and David Matthews.

We were also treated to the world premier of ‘Diversions’ by young composer Benjamin L A Picard, who describes the piece as “a hyperactive, bouncing clarinet melody, with chiming pizzicato thirds played by the viola and an accelerating scalic figure in the cello.”

Contemporary Consort have been an ensemble in residence at the King’s Lynn Festival since 2001. Together they have performed at the Purcell Room in London, and for the BBC Proms Composer Portrait Series at the Royal Albert Hall live on BBC Radio 3 annually between 2002 and 2007.

They have performed regularly at various music festivals around the country.

The King’s Lynn Festival continues until Saturday 26 July with a wide variety of events.

kingslynnfestival.org.uk

 

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