Sunday 3rd October 2016
Click on the link below for a short clip of Anemos Arts Ensemble flautist, Angela Schneidt-Stone, playing the tune for the cat in Peter and the Wolf.
Monday 4th October 2016
Anemos Arts Ensemble is based in Holland. One of its musicians however has a close Aberdeen connection. Flautist Angela Schneidt-Stone was born in Aberdeen and began her serious flute studies with Eileen Bowie, an outstanding performer and teacher who was in Monday’s audience to hear her past pupil play with the Ensemble. All five musicians are accomplished orchestral players who also enjoy the challenge of playing in smaller ensembles, allowing them to explore a repertoire offered in this case by the Wind Quintet or in one of Monday’s pieces, the Wind Trio.
Like the rest of Monday’s audience, I was absolutely blown away by the astonishingly accomplished performance that the Anemos Arts Ensemble offered. Every one of the performers was of virtuoso standard. They gave us real three dimensional playing. The crystalline precision of each instrument was allied to perfection in ensemble playing to give us a performance in which while every instrument stood out with discernible clarity, at the same time, the seamless playing that the music demanded never failed to impress.
Anemos began their performance with the Allegro molto from the first movement of Mozart’s Gran Partita in B flat, K361. This sprightly music with astonishing runs and repeated notes played at high speed by the bassoon provided the perfect choice as an exciting Overture to the performance.
To follow was a delightful piece by Franz Danzi (1763 – 1826), his Wind Quintet op. 56 no. 2. The opening movement sounded as if it came from a much later period. I thought for a moment of Mendelssohn because of the magical pointed agility of the flute part. The Andante was smoothly elegant and was followed by a surprisingly fast minuet. The trio of this third movement featured lovely flute playing and then just as sprightly, flute and oboe led the concluding Allegretto.
Ravel’s Tombeau de Couperin was originally composed as a piano solo, but Ravel himself created a version for orchestra to be used as ballet music. Monday’s version for the Wind Quintet was arranged by Mason Jones – it worked splendidly well.
In the opening movement, oboe, flute and clarinet delivered Ravel’s rippling music. The second movement provided finely interwoven counterpoint. The minuet was delicate with fine transparent playing and the final Rigaudon was trenchant, foot tapping even, with a delightfully quirky central section typical of Ravel.
A simple trio of flute, bassoon and clarinet were all that was needed for a marriage between Mozart and Beethoven – Beethoven’s Variations on Mozart’s “La ci darem la mano”. The flute set forth the theme on which the variations were centred. The flute was also the star in the first variation. The bassoon took the limelight in several of the later variations. It too was played magnificently but it was not till near the conclusion that the clarinet was allowed top billing. Sometimes a series of variations can seem overlong – boring even – but not today. Every note was pure fascination.
Samuel Barber’s Summer Music op. 31 was very different in its appeal. Here the ensemble became more like a small orchestra as rhapsodic melodic interest took precedence. Its beginning was, as the score demands, “slow and indolent”. There were rhapsodic faster passages where the melodic content was woven across the various instruments. This required a different sort of precision from the players but it proved no problem at all for Anemos who gave us a deliciously seductive account of Barber’s atmospheric musical portrait of a summer’s day.
Most of the audience were of an age that would have been familiar with Jacob Gade’s Tango “Jalousie” even if it were just the version played by Victor Silvester and his Ballroom Orchestra. The wind quintet version arranged by Stig Jørgensen was vastly more sophisticated – a real instrumental delight.
An enthusiastic ovation from the audience managed to illicit a special encore – Beethoven’s Fifth Bossa Nova arranged by Terence Greaves. An audience that was already won over by the unparalleled quality of what they had already heard were sent off home with broad smiles on their faces.