With the title Mindful Visions: Metamorphosis, Daydreams and Fantasies, it was clear that the small, yet discerning audience would be in for a thought-provoking time. How much of this would appear truly engaging in the musical sense, however, would always be open to conjecture and subject to the listeners’ individual preferences.
A Pavane and Galliard by sixteenth-century Welsh-born Thomas Tomkins got things off to an overall good start, with some crisp playing from the Sinfonietta’s strings, under the baton of Simon Ible, and led by Mary Eade.
Sam Richards’s extended, quasi-improvisatory Pebbles, Waves, Clouds proved challenging stuff, especially when followed by an impeccably-crafted Tomkins Fantasia. Núria Bonet Filella’s Tuna Fishing had some exciting rhythmic touches, and brief reminiscences, at times, of an all-too-familiar film score about a somewhat larger sea-going predator.
An In Nomine and Fantasia by Purcell again exemplified true musical skill and ingenuity, and nowhere more so than in the Fantasia, where the composer weaves his melodic lines over a single repeated note from the viola – but with the listener hardly aware of this at all.
Marcelo Gimenes’s Pensiveness was the evening’s undoubted highlight. Here was a contemporary musical score that could still perfectly communicate the composer’s intentions to its listeners, and in such an extremely expressive and moving fashion.
Vivaldi’s Sinfonia al Santo Sepolcro provided the ideal close to this varied – and mixed programme.
PHILIP R BUTTALL