Review: Chichester Cathedral Lunchtime Concerts series – Clarinet Quintet

Clarinet Quintet, Chichester Cathedral, Feb 13

Keir RoweBogdan Vacarescu, Michael Sullivan, Phyllida Maude-Roxby, & Nigel McNestrie

The Clarinet is a bubbly thing, isn’t it. It is a character actor like the bassoon or trombone. Clarinet Quintet aren’t five of them, though. They are Keir Rowe with a string quartet, a West Sussex Chamber Ensemble possibly in search of a better name. Hopefully one even better than the West Sussex Chamber Ensemble.

Mozart’s Quintet K. 581 begins on a summer’s day, one can’t help but think, with smooth clarinet and strings. The Larghetto then equally brings to mind the famous Concerto, creamy with Bogdan Vacarescu’s (pictured) gorgeous interpolations. There is all the dancefloor etiquette of the Minuet’s genteel sashay before the Allegretto finale did then bubble and tripped through its variazoni of tempi and theme.

String Quartets are something we don’t get enough of round these parts. Either that or I’m not going to the right places. The Mozart Divertimento K. 136 had Bogdan leading a light breeze in the Allegro and the Andante was all grace and consolation with Phyllida Maude-Roxby, vla, and Nigel McNestrie, clo, having neat contributions to make and Michael Sullivan more than ‘second fiddle’ and the order and sanity that Mozart brings into the chaos of how the world is now and maybe always has been was completed with precision that the quartet made look easy in a happy Presto

After three hours of music and music talk only last night I had wondered how much more I needed so soon but of course one wants such things, short of being addicted to it. We are routinely spolit by Chichester Cathedral’s lunchtime concerts but I, for one, can’t see any harm in it. 

David Green

Pictured: Bogdan Vacarescu

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