“A tremendously moving performance…
the Goldfield Ensemble’s marathon labour of love produced several distinguished performances.”
‘Extremely impressive in both concerts of British chamber music, the playing of The Goldfield Ensemble was vibrant, full of concentration and commitment.
Edmund Rubbra’s Piano Trio is a creature of its time, of post-war Cheltenham Festival commissions. Spiritually nourishing music of intense soul-searching gravity, it is now ridiculously unfashionable. John Ireland’s arresting, terse single movement Second Piano Trio was first performed at the end of the First World War. It bears its composer’s fingerprints, though much of it is stark and sombre. It is haunted by elusive march themes, as if killing fields are being recollected in semi-tranquillity. Frank Bridge’s grandiose Piano Quintet hails from a very different, world, an Edwardian world of comfort and opulence, before Europe was torn apart. Here the piano vies with the string players as if in a concerto. There are, nevertheless, interludes of delicacy and the second movement has an electrifying central section. James Sherlock scintillated at the keyboard.
In his essentially wistful Canzonetta, the clarinet plays with a gently rocking 6/8 theme of some distinction. The programmes were completed by two works from Lydney-born composer Herbert Howells. Both the Rhapsodic Quintet and the Piano Quartet display the rich chordal progressions that have made his choral music so popular. The large-scale Quartet is dedicated to “the hill at Chosen”. With its moments of ethereal beauty and sweeping lyricism, it palpably evokes a sense of peace.“
“Vibrant, wistful and full of concentration and commitment.”
Colin Burrow, Gloucester Citizen, 21 April 2015
“….. a wonderful concert from the Goldfield Ensemble.”
St Johns Smith Square, March 2015
“…The marriage of music and film here attained perfection in terms of both aesthetic continuity and elegance.”
For new music at the Cheltenham Music Festival, the key phrase yesterday was “transfigured time”. Time in the sense of history, as two of the concerts directly explored, confronted, embraced and challenged contemporary music’s relationship with instruments, images and idioms from the past. The afternoon event at Parabola Arts Centre featured the Goldfield Ensemble and Langham Research Centre in a concert that unfolded as a long-form electroacoustic audiovisual meditation on these ideas.
Tristan Murail‘s short duet for clarinet and violin Les Ruines Circulaire set up an environment where focus and a united sense of purpose only gradually materialise, the players initially taking turns to ignore each other, until eventually falling over themselves in a joint cascade of overlapping arpeggios, before collapsing into a wretched sequence of ruins yet always retaining a lyrical heart (brilliantly nuanced by Nicola Goldscheider and Kate Romano). Ricercare una Melodia by Jonathan Harvey, composed in 1985, above all reminded one how long it’s been that composers have been using electronics to respond to acoustic instruments, and how challenging it is to come up with genuinely successful results, as Harvey does. Here, Romano’s clarinet seemed to be releasing more and more tendrils of melody around her, communing a language of electroacoustic interaction that was complex in nature but simple in syntax.
Leaps and bounds beyond all of these, though, was the world première of Singularity by Kathy Hinde. The marriage of music and film here attained perfection in terms of both aesthetic continuity and elegance. Norwegian artist Solveig Settemsdal‘s visuals were utterly mesmerising and impossible to resolve, featuring a large globular agglomeration of some kind of matter–liquid or fabric or feathers or something–that pulsed, shivered, hovered, struggled, and evolved, like a glutinous, biological and altogether more placid version of Alex Rutterford’s Gantz Graf. Hinde’s music was similarly amorphous and behaviourally limited, forming a vaporous texture of shifting densities (including delightful intrusions from the bowed and tickled innards of toy pianos), ethereal, ephemeral, excruciatingly wonderful, like a cross between high ambient and a tantric orgasm. Those wanting a taste can experience it in various locations in the coming months.
5:4 review | Cheltenham Festival 9th July 2016
‘ Ritual in Transfigured Time consists of a 1946 film by Maya Deren set to a 2016 score by Arlene Sierra. What begins as a fly-on-the-wall video showing the day-to-day events of an anonymous female protagonist ends as thrashing choreography, the music following every development of the film, almost as though it had been composed as a soundtrack. The result was an example of how much more powerful sound and visuals can be in their own right, when united in intent’
The Cusp Magazine | OVADA Gallery 30 September 2016
“Goldfield Ensemble; Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, York UniversityNow that we are (at last) less diffident about our own music, English programmes are becoming increasingly popular. The Goldfield, barely three years old as a group but of slightly riper years as individuals, are already specialists in this area. They appeared on Wednesday as a piano quintet.To the advertised Ireland, Bridge and Elgar, they added a zesty string trio by William Alwyn, written in 1959. Its four movements are uneven, but the central two benefited from the Goldfield’s rhythmic vitality and precise chording respectively.Elsewhere Alwyn’s deliberate severity was never less than absorbing: his day will come.Bridge’s Piano Quintet, completed in 1912, stands fascinatingly with one foot in its own century and one in the 19th. The Goldfield brought warmth and passion, not just to its skittish central scherzo, but to its three adagios, and engineered a smooth accumulation of tension in the finale.The whimsical changes in Ireland’s Second Piano Trio reflect its origins in the First World War. Its brooding opening bars colour the whole piece. Such was the Goldfield’s conviction that it emerged as a coherent set of variations.In contrast, Elgar’s Piano Quintet is altogether sunnier, dating from the immediate post-First World War years. Here the group was especially alive to its spirit of dance. Claire Hammond worked wonders of restraint in the elaborate piano role.The Adagio might have been less leisurely, but its ending was properly sinister.” Read the full review.
“The Goldfield is a group to watch.”
February 2014 in Music news and reviews, York Press By Martin Dreyer
Dai Fujikura – Flare (Minabel label)
“Halcyon (2011) for clarinet and string trio is played by the Goldfield Ensemble. A high solo clarinet surrounded by strenuous strings, with burst of energy alternating with stasis. The clarinet writing uses advanced phonics, often over Fujikura’s beloved plucked strings. In the piece the composer wanted the music to sound as if manipulated using electronics, and it does…….Fujikura explores his chosen forces to their limits taking his players to the edge. And all respond brilliantly giving a series of fascinating performances. Fujikura does not write easy music, each piece on the disc requires care and attention from both performers and listeners. But the results can be magical” Read the full review
Planet Hugill – A World of Classical Music
“Two brilliant clarinet quintets by Mozart and Brahms
played with superb style.”