DAVID DENTON for Yorkshire Post

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St Hilda’s Priory, Sneaton Castle

I doubt I will ever encounter another performance of Elgar’s Piano Quintet that so absolutely captured the ardour and beauty of this gorgeous score, those moments of nostalgia in the outer movements having the aristocratic uprightness of the Edwardian England that Elgar pictured.

The central Adagio’s wistful peace reflects the countryside, the warmth of the quartet of strings, lead by the Swiss violinist, Rachel Kolly d’Alba, creating a spontaneity that could only come from musicians who deeply loved the music they were performing. Adam Johnson was a tower of strength in a demanding role for the piano, though it was nothing compared to Faure’s Second Piano Quartet where page after page was black with notes. It is said to be a score that is loathed to reveal its inner secrets, but that was certainly not the case here, the passion of this intrinsically French score emerging with poetry and stature in playing that was immaculate. Above all it was the acoustic of the Priory chapel that helped them to achieve such sensitivity and elegance, the song of the Blackbird, as portrayed by the flute of Dan Watts in Messiaen’s Le Merle noir, resonating around this visually delightful space.

Read more at: http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/what-s-on/music/review-north-york-moors-chamber-music-festival-1-8729220