REVIEW: Jamie Walton and Friends Henrietta Barnett School

PUBLISHED: 11:26 27 February 2009 | UPDATED: 15:59 07 September 2010

Concerts advertised with Friends aren t always the cosy experience you re promised on the packet. As often as not, the Friends are a loose collective of players with strong personalities that don t quite meet on the common ground you need for chamber mus

Concerts advertised with Friends aren't always the cosy experience you're promised on the packet. As often as not, the Friends are a loose collective of players with strong personalities that don't quite meet on the common ground you need for chamber music. And where the common ground is as shaky as it was for this Mill Hill Music Club concert, friendship goes out of the window impressively fast.

On paper, it was a wonderful line-up of young stars featuring cellist Jamie Walton, violinist Chloe Hanslip, pianist Ashley Wass and violist Philip Dukes: a gathering of names that would look good in the classiest venue.

But they'd had some problems with changes of the advertised personnel and repertoire. And for all their individual virtuosity, I don't think they'd had enough time together to be of one mind about what they were playing. Or, for that matter, what key it was in.

The intonation was decidedly individual in much of Faure's 1st Piano Quartet which comes with exposed unisons that are always hard to pitch. And it didn't help that Hanslip was having a bad night, playing with harsh insensitivity (I'd hate to see her in a temper) and off the note.

Schumann's Piano Quartet had other issues, including a comically incapable page-turner. And it was only Mendelssohn's 2nd Piano Trio (page-turner Philip Dukes!) that really showed what these players can do: a dazzling, fiercely energised performance that emerged (I'm not sure how) from the unflustered elegance and clarity of Walton's bowing and immaculate finesse of Wass's pianism.

Fine musicians, certainly. But maybe not on best form in each other's company.

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