City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Barony Ensemble Review

By Barnaby Miln - Posted on 20 August 2013

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St Andrew's & St George's West at Festival Time 2013
Running time: 
Hindemith, Clarinet Quartet Op 30; Han Gál, Serenade op 93 for Clarinet, Violin and Cello; Khachaturian, Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Piano.
Jean Johnson (clarinet), Aisling O'Dea (violin), Christian Elliott (cello), Edward Cohen (piano).

The Edinburgh-based Barony Ensemble performed their unusual, colourful and virtuosic programme in St Andrew's and St George's West in their Fringe debut. A specialist choice of music it was; much helped at the start by American clarinettist Jean Johnson's opening remarks.

Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) wrote his Clarinet Quartet in 1938 as Hitler was in full power and when Hindemith was in America. It was premiered in 1939 by members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. It gave us great insights into the complexities of playing the clarinet and cello too. Dark, gloomy - it did come up for air some of the time.

Much more cheerful and easier to listen to was Hans Gál's Serenade for Clarinet, Violin and Cello written in 1935 in Vienna before he had to flee Hitler's reign of terror. We in Edinburgh are proud of all Gál (1890-1987) did for music not only in the University but his part in the start of the Edinburgh International Festival in 1947. Jean Johnson told just how difficult life was for Gál until he eventually established himself in Edinburgh where he was to remain. It was good to see his daughter and granddaughter in the audience.

Edward Cohen, the pianist, reappeared and Christian Elliott, the cellist, withdrew - for Khachaturian's Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Piano which also has a history of suppression but under Stalin. Aisling O'Dea the violinist was having fun as the work came to an end. Khachaturian was born in 1903 and died in 1978.

All four players worked hard and impressively. They can be delighted with their debut performance at the Fringe.

Event: Tuesday 20 August 2013 at 2.30pm