fri 28/01/2022

Nash Ensemble, Drapers' Hall, City of London Festival | reviews, news & interviews

Nash Ensemble, Drapers' Hall, City of London Festival

Nash Ensemble, Drapers' Hall, City of London Festival

Cornucopia of chamber music old and new humanises civic pomposity

Core trio of a Nash spectacular: Pianist Ian Brown, violinist Marianne Thorsen and cellist Paul WatkinsHanya Chlala/ArenaPal

It takes a lot to humanise the hideous late-Victorian glitter of Drapers' Hall, but the City of London Festival's latest cornucopia knew how. Ornithologist-composer David Lumsdaine's soundscape greeted us with Australian birds fluttering invisibly around Corinthian gilt. Then it was down to business with the Nash Ensemble's small band of personable generals. They gave us high-toned Grieg and Dvořák, cheerful homespun songs with sophisticated twists by Grainger, Vaughan Williams and Delius to make the austere central portrait of Victoria inwardly smile, and a jungly new Sextet by Brett Dean, core composer of the festival's Antipodean theme.

It takes a lot to humanise the hideous late-Victorian glitter of Drapers' Hall, but the City of London Festival's latest cornucopia knew how. Ornithologist-composer David Lumsdaine's soundscape greeted us with Australian birds fluttering invisibly around Corinthian gilt. Then it was down to business with the Nash Ensemble's small band of personable generals. They gave us high-toned Grieg and Dvořák, cheerful homespun songs with sophisticated twists by Grainger, Vaughan Williams and Delius to make the austere central portrait of Victoria inwardly smile, and a jungly new Sextet by Brett Dean, core composer of the festival's Antipodean theme.

It was the uniquely personal dying fall of My Robin is to the Greenwood Gone which lingered in the memory

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