"La Seccatura" - the Chamber Soloists perform Haydn, Schubert and Hummel

Reviewed by Anthony Harkin

'La Seccatura' Classical clarinetist 'Nicole van Bruggen' informs in her programme notes is a 'Nuisance or Bother' an unusual title for a recital that was anything but a nuisance or bothersome.

Beginning with a Vincenzo Gambaro arrangement of Haydn Quartet No 1 for clarinet, violin viola and cello in B flat major the performers displayed a kaleidoscope range of the textural capabilities of a quartet. The unfamiliar fourth member of clarinet offered overtones rarely heard. Particularly the middle register seemed much denser. Shadings abounded.

Franz Schubert remains a giant of romanticism and his Trio for violin, viola and cello is a clear illustration as to why. A perfect balance of strings with a "folk song" approach to melody that has sustained centuries of interest. Of course the beauty of the written music was very much enhanced by the use of "period" instruments. In fact each time I witness the pleasure of 'Orchestra Seventeen88' I wonder why people perform this repertoire NOT on Period instruments.

Hummel's Quartet in E Flat major s78/W5 was nothing short of a masterpiece. The third movement (Andante) was a highlight of a first rate recital. A bucolic soundscape bought fully to its senses. The audience were deeply moved and demanded an encore. That piece, Krammer's Quartet in B Flat op83 4th movement made me curious as to how many more magnificent "obscure" pieces this ensemble has up its sleeve.

Nicole van Bruggen gleefully informed the audience that she had researched over 200 compositions for clarinet, violin, viola and cello from between 1790 and 1820.

Orchestra Seventeen88 has recently acquired a small amount of Government funding for the next two years. Rachael Beesley said 'it will enable us to present an exciting season of classical and romantic programmes to Australian audiences.

Let us seriously hope it is a good lot lengthier than two years!

9 July at  Sydney Grammar School

Performers were:

Classical clarinet: Nicole van Bruggen

Violin: Rachael Beesley

Viola: Simon Oswell

Violoncello: Michael Dahlenburg