Monday, March 16, 2009

Schubert and more

The relaxed looking bunch in the shot above make up The Schubert Ensemble; Mrs The Millbrooker and I were lucky enough to be given tickets to see them perform in Truro on Friday just gone.

My knowledge of the intricacies of chamber music isn't anywhere near sufficient to offer up a proper critique, so I'll just have to content myself with saying that they played beautifully and presented a terrifically varied programme.

Mrs The Millbrooker had contacted the organisers, Truro 3 Arts, beforehand and they very kindly reserved us front row seats on the grounds that I can't see properly and would get more from the concert if I could follow the action visually as well as aurally.

The evening began with a dash down the A30 and a frantic search of Truro centre for somewhere (anywhere!) that serves food in the early evening. The search for a pub (even a Wetherspoon's) proved fruitless and our available time before getting to the venue was severely limited. We ended up in the fine dining establishment "Walker's Fish Restaurant", doubtless known to locals as "The Chippy" and chowed down on some old fashioned artery cloggers and a mug of tea. How very refined.After another bout of frantic searching, this time trying to find Truro College, during which we drove past what would appear to have been the perfect pub for a quick pint and plate of steak and chips, we pulled up outside the Mylor Theatre within the College complex.

The Ensemble treated us to a piano quartet by Faure (entrancing), a modern piece by David Knott (witty, demanding - and the highlight for me)
followed by Schubert's Piano Quintet in A, The Trout. The Trout has long been a favourite of mine and gets a frequent airing on the CD player in Millbrooker Towers. The Ensemble quite obviously know the piece backwards and visibly relaxed into the performance; the deep concentration needed for the previous pieces was replaced by evident enjoyment and a sense of fun.
We were then given a lively encore piece called "Dobra Dobra", which I was surprised to find I knew. Violinist Simon Blendis plays an instrument that was once owned by Max Jaffa and legend has it that he found the music to Dobra Dobra (Russian for Goody Goody, apparently) amongst Jaffa's belongings; Jaffa used it as an encore piece as well.
Well done to The Schubert Ensemble (not that they need such plaudits from the likes of me); a terrific evening's entertainment. Great music and a wonderfully relaxed, bonhomie-filled atmosphere. And thank you to Dozybean and YarMatt for buying us the tickets as a Christmas present - we had a marvellous time.

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