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“Music from Vienna”

London Bridge Ensemble

Webern Three Little Pieces for Cello and Piano, Op. 11; 3 Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op. 7; 2 Pieces for Cello and Piano (1899) - Mahler Piano Quartet Movement in A minor - Schubert Heine Lieder from Schwanengesang D. 957; Abendröte, D690; Die Vögel, D691; Die Gebüsche, D646; Im Walde, D708 - Mozart Piano Quartet in E flat major, K493

Laura Samuel (violin), Tom Dunn (viola), Kate Gould (cello), Daniel Tong (piano) and Ivan Ludlow (baritone)

Wigmore Hall 22nd May 2012

More London Bridge than Vienna... Best was the Webern/Mahler group played, as requested with no applause between these mainly brief pieces. The last (and earliest) romantic cello piece, which I didn't know, made a good bridge to the effusive Mahler quartet movement, which I liked in this context better than usually.

Ivan Ludlow made a good choice of some unusual songs and was well supported by Daniel Tong, who revelled in the dark transpositions down. But Ludlow seemed to have a little difficulty in his higher register, more so after the interval.

The Mozart Quartet performance made no concessions whatsoever towards historically informed practice. The audience (many with Viennese connections ?) loved it; we didn't... [It's time for Wigmore Hall to acquire a fortepiano of its own.]

To put this live concert in context, try the Frank Bridge CD [Dutton CDLX 7205] which has the London Bridge Ensemble in idiomatic accounts of two of his early chamber works for the Cobbett Competitions, music which suits them. The early Bridge songs show no hints of that composer's future originality, only latterly appreciated, and Ivan Ludlow shows similar limitations even in studio conditions.

Peter Grahame Woolf