Review of the Medlock Ensemble in All Saints’ Church, Cottenham on Sunday 7th October 2018


The Medlock Ensemble gave a splendid concert in All Saint’s Church on Sunday. The programme contained many popular items and the calibre of this ensemble drew a very large audience.

The pieces were introduced by Tim Lihoreau of Classic FM fame and the first item consisted of three people who benefit from Camtrust  saying how much they appreciate their time with Camtrust, a local independent charity working with adults who have learning difficulties . (The concert was in aid of this trust).  The look of joy and sense of pride on the faces of these three speakers after they had spoken was delightful.

The musical items played by the ensemble began with a lively performance of ‘Allegro and Romance from Eine Kleine Nachtmusik’ by Mozart.  There was nothing hackneyed about this performance and these excellent musicians brought life to a piece that we often hear in not so splendid circumstances. There was no doubt that this ensemble was formed by the most talented of instrumentalists and the gorgeous rich and well-blended tone the members produced was phenomenal.

‘Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana’ by Mascagni followed and in this familiar, slow piece, the passion was rung out of every note. The harpist, Elizabeth Bass, was heard for the first time in this piece and she produced the very attractive, romantic accompaniment expected.

‘Adagio for Strings and Organ’ by Albinoni was the next item and it certainly did not disappoint. From the start, the organist Ralph Woodward  playing softly with the cellos and double bass plucking their strings with the opening of the familiar bass line  heralded the forthcoming work beautifully. Helen’s solo late in the piece was spellbinding.

Before interval came a more modern item: ‘March from Serenade for Strings’ by Wiren.  This was no ordinary march. The ensemble made it especially jolly and easily moved into the more unusual swaying section not very common in marches. It certainly worked here.

After interval, the concert resumed with a delightful performance of Grieg’s  familiar ‘Prelude and Air’ from the Holberg Suite and then a harp solo by Elizabeth Bass who demonstrated tremendous skill and understanding when she played the demanding ‘Impromptu’ by Faure.

Nostalgia and gentility returned with the ensemble playing the very popular romantic music from ‘Ladies in Lavender’ . The concert ended with a splendid tear-away feel  in Brahms ‘’Hungarian Dance no 5’. The ensemble had no trouble in playing with the abundance of exuberance the piece required.

A jazzy encore:  ‘It Don’t Mean a Thing if it ain’t got that Swing’ rounded the programme off nicely.

This was indeed an excellent concert, more so because it was in a very good cause.

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