Review: Kegelstatt Trio, Apex, Bury St Edmunds Festival, May 24

Tuesday’s recital by the Kegelstatt Trio, Sarah Williamson, clarinet, Judith Busbridge, viola, and John Reid, piano, perhaps inevitably featured the trio for this fairly unusual combination from which they take their name.

Kegelstatt translates as Skittle Alley, and it was in such an establishment that Mozart is said to have received the inspiration for what became K498, almost certainly the first, and surely the greatest work ever written for this combination. However it is now a combination with quite an extensive repertoire of its own, two of the finest examples of which preceded the Mozart: Schumann’s Marchenerzahlungen (Fairy Tales), and four of Max Bruch’s Eight Pieces , Opus 8.

Marchenerzahlungen are four exquisite miniatures which, despite having no specific programme, seem to capture the essence of nineteenth century Romanticism. The four pieces from Bruch’s Opus 8, although written in 1910, are still very much in the Romantic style.

The Kegelstatt performed both works with great sensitivity, the Schumann receiving the characterful playing it deserves,

the more direct music of the Bruch exuding great charm. Sometimes Judith Busbridge’s viola did’nt quite match the mellifluous sound of Judith Williamson’s clarinet, though there was much to enjoy. The Ruhiges Tempo in the Schumann,one of his loveliest slow movements , was beautifully done, with near perfect balance between the three instruments, and John Reid exhibited a wonderfully light touch in the final Lebhaft of the Bruch.

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The final work, Mozart’s K498, was a delight ; stylish,elegant playing with the freshness that comes when the performers are obviously enjoying the music.

Frank Cliff

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