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RNCM Concert Hall, 22 March 2012


Calefax. Photo by Oliver Boekhoorn

Calefax. Photo by Oliver Boekhoorn


This was quite an eye-opener all around – or whatever the aural equivalent might be – as well as being a pleasurable concert in itself.

They’re a reed quintet, Calefax are, and they seem on this showing to specialise in arrangements of music originally written for strings, perhaps piano especially.

The highlight of the concert, amongst works by Debussy, Michelangelo Rossi and Shostakovich (and a Nina Simone song ‘For All We Know’ played as an encore), was the performance of Bach’s Goldberg Variations.

At first you smile with something like indulgence, especially as you hear the bassoon (Alban Wesly) and the basset horn (Jelte Althuis) take the reins, playing music originally written for the harpsichord.  But this smile soon becomes one of delight, almost childish delight, blossoming quickly into unbridled enthusiasm and admiration.  The other instruments represented were saxophone, clarinet and oboe and the way they worked in combination and unison with the richer tones of the other two was simply wonderful. 

What about ear-enhancer as an aural equivalent of eye-opener?

Anyway, this concert made for an enjoyable, an educational and even an edifying experience.  It was wonderful, quite wonderful.

Calefax have a website, which includes tour dates and everything, here.