Review: Inspīrātĭo Ensemble at Hayling

Inspīrātĭo Ensemble, St Mary’s Church, Hayling Island, June 23

Moving on about a hundred years from the baroque recital in April, Inspīrātĭo today were Mikhail Lezdkan (cello) (pictured) now joined by Béla Hartmann (piano) in what is a flexible collective of musicians. A proper summer’s day outside and plenty of air circulating in the attractive indoors of St. Mary’s made for an ideal place to be with gorgeous music and Piers Burton-Page’s debonair commentary for company.

Beethoven’s 7 Variations on ‘Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen’ are not the monumental Diabelli set but still find space enough for variegated moods, from jovial to reflective, regular interplay between the duo and Béla bringing forward the original spirit of Mozart into the piano part.

In his announcer’s role, Piers covered both some musical history and some appropriate Shakespeare readings among which was a brief summary of largely obsolete instruments, the point of which was the arpeggione that Schubert’s Sonata D. 821 was written for. Its Allegro Moderato was convivial with Misha’s cello velvet and smooth, its charm extending into mischief; the Adagio necessarily broader with a tinge of regret about it but then the Allegretto quickened into a snappy riff with Béla almost like a cinema accompanist to Misha’s on-screen capers.

In the second half, Mendelssohn’s Sonata no. 2, op. 58, led me to wonder if his reputation might be yet higher if he wasn’t quite so cheerful so much of the time. Perhaps one needs to be essentially tragic to be taken more seriously. His first movement here was all vivace, really, with Béla verging on the flamboyant in a piece that I’m sure he had many more notes in and was at least an equal partner. Misha was pizzicato in the Scherzando and Béla decorated the Adagio with what, my investigations found out, were ‘arpeggiated chords’ and so I’m grateful to have learned that new thing today. There were even more notes in the Molto allegro e vivace finale with Misha’s cello at times seeming to conjure the bumblebee from elsewhere in the repertoire.

Some rest after those exertions was provided by some rich, deep waves of sleep in a piece entitled Traumerei as an encore and I enjoy a quiz. Probably Robert Schumann, possibly Brahms, I thought, but maybe I vaguely knew it anyway. I wish I could have had a go on the BBC’s old masterpiece of a parlour game, Face the Music. I might not have been Robin Ray but I could have been a contender.

That was an idyllic afternoon in every way I can think of. Anybody who expects more out of life than that is ever likely to be disappointed.

David Green

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