Review of the Cordia Wind Quintet playing for the King’s Ely Concert Society Series in the Hayward Theatre on Thursday 23rd June 2o16

review quintet June kse 2016kse concert series Jonathan Kingston Melody Day and Peter North yThe Cordia Wind Quintet entertained an enthusiastic audience in the Hayward Theatre on Thursday 23rd June. Amy-Jayne Milton (flute), David Hasler (Oboe), Jake Hinson (clarinet), Jack Pilcher May (horn) and Emma Westley (bassoon) are all undergraduate students from the Royal College of Music, London but their skill indicated that they are indeed already fully-fledged professional musicians.

The works performed were ‘Serenade for Wind Quintet’ by Karl Pilss, ‘La Cheminée du roi René’ by Darius Milhaud, Anton Dvorak’s ‘American String Quartet’ (arranged for Wind Quintet by David Walter) and ‘Three Shanties for Wind Quintet’ by Malcolm Arnold.

These excellent instrumentalists played with impressive agility, magnificent tonal control and true ensemble craftsmanship, highlighting the key melodic material clearly and balancing the combined sounds perfectly.

The work by Pilss contained most effective mood changes and jaunty passages; the Milhaud included many charming duet passages with the sound of the horn and bassoon blending particularly well. The galloping final movement left us feeling thoroughly entertained before the short interval.

After interval, the players tunefully brought out the charm of the music in the Dvorak, and in the Malcolm Arnold they really let their hair down causing a few laughs in the audience with their amusing exploration of sea shanties. The drunken swagger presented in the first movement based on ‘What shall we do with a drunken sailor?’ was particularly enjoyable.

The concert ended with a well-deserved encore containing amazing rapid passages that seemed no trouble to these magnificent performers.

This quintet should go far.

This was the final concert for this season of the King’s Ely Concert Society Series and the Director of Music at the king’s School Ely, Jonathan Kingston, was quick to point out that the next season starts with a concert on the 22nd September. Melody Day and Peter North have been the main organizers of the concerts and Melody will be sorely missed after she retires next month.

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