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Review: Diversity on all sides in West Cork's journey

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English cellist Natalie Clien

English cellist Natalie Clien

English cellist Natalie Clien

Curated by founder Francis Humphrys and celebrating its 20th anniversary, the West Cork Chamber Music Festival brings a set of its wares to Dublin as part of the NCH's own season.

I manage three events beginning with Vienna's Artis Quartet where Zemlinsky's 4th Quartet, dedicated to Alban Berg's memory in 1936, runs a gamut of oscillating emotions.

An expressively cello-intoned variation movement has a distinctively Hebraic feeling and finds the visiting musicians grippingly perceptive.

No less positive, the ensemble embraces the gentle and vigorous natures of Dvorák's American Quartet.

Artis return later in the day for Schubert's C major Quintet. Joined by English cellist Natalie Clein and producing almost orchestral resonance, they immerse themselves totally in Schubert's masterpiece. Solemn and ethereal, their playing is also urgent and exciting.

On a romantic front, Grieg's 3rd Violin Sonata is passionately fiery though the matching prowess of Norway's Henning Kraggerud and Finland's Paavali Jumppanen.

The Vanbrugh Quartet offer Mozart's D major Quintet with Poland's Krzysztof Chorzelski as 2nd viola in an earnest and playful interpretation.

Kraggerud's recent and short Preghiera Quartet brings serious content that recalls the haunting sentiment of the earlier Zemlinsky.

The day ends with Alfred Schnittke's 1976 Piano Quintet - the Vanbrugh and Jumppanen. This harsh and grotesque piece, in memory of Schnittke's mother, ends with a glimpse of consoling hope following nightmarish anguish.

Diversity on all sides as West Cork continues its illustrious journey.

Irish Independent