If you are a long-term reader of mine, you heard me write this before: Performers who were trained in Britain are inevitably amazing musicians.
Such was the case on Sunday afternoon, October 25, 2015 when the St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble performed at Stanford University’s Bing Concert Hall.
The program began with Rossini’s familiar String Sonata No. 1, as performed by just four members of the Ensemble. Immediately I saw the familiar great musicianship, fine eye contact, and excellent execution.
The next work was Mozart’s Horn Quintet in E-flat Major. At this concert the horn player used a modern instrument. I was aware how difficult it was to perform this piece back in 1782, when valveless horns were not yet invented.
The horn player adhered beautifully to dynamics and to his interaction with the strings.
The “home run” was a performance of the Octet for winds and strings by Franz Schubert. In this final selection the strings were joined by clarinet, bassoon, and horn. This work is in six movements, and each one represents an amazing experience. The Principal Violin displayed excellent virtuosity, and the musicianship was outstanding.
One final note: The overall sound balance produced by the St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble was terrific. And the string instruments likely represent examples of the finest European craftsmanship.
Bottom Line: A wonderful concert that I will remember for many years to come.
Here is a performance of the Schubert Octet, with Janine Jansen and friends: