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Musician mix puts ensemble among the best

ENSEMBLE HANS GAL with Katalin Kertesz on violin, Shelley Levy on clarinet and Mark Nixon on piano. Presented by NMMU Arts and Culture. (NMMU Auditorium).

THREE brilliant musicians in a brilliantly compiled programme – this combination made the visit of the Hans Gal Ensemble a truly great experience.

Cleverly starting with Brahms‘s Clarinet Sonata Op.120/1, they attuned our mind to the Brahmsian idiosyncrasies charmingly colouring Hans Gal‘s fascinating Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Piano Op. 97 – a highly welcome introduction to an unduly neglected composer.

In similar manner, the French- refined Russian tinge in Debussy‘s Violin Sonata prepared the way for the exciting and full-blooded oriental idiom of Khachaturian‘s Trio. This line of thought then culminated in Bartok‘s often mercilessly dissonant Contrasts 1939, a work that, while based on folkloristic material, primarily explores the full potential of the three instruments.

It needs masters of their instrument to present a programme of this kind, a fact that was proved without any doubt.

Though each a soloist they blended into a great ensemble, making this concert one of the best we have heard in a long time. – RUPERT MAYR

The Herald - September 2007

Leto Ensemble

13th July 2014

By John Carmichael

         On Sunday July 13th at the Blenheim Music Circle afternoon concert the Leto Ensemble – flute, clarinet & piano, gave a programme ranging from the delights of Bizet’s Carmen to the hard-edged Duo for Flute & Clarinet of Polish composer Szalowki. Both were impeccably performed by this accomplished trio of players. The outstanding piece in the programme was undoubtedly Leonard Bernstein’s Sonata for clarinet & piano with a riveting performance by Shelley Levy on clarinet with Pavel Timofejesky at the piano. This is a work which provides ample opportunities for display of virtuosity and dramatic changes of dynamics which both players seized with open hands to splendid effect. An intriguing set of pieces, Roussel’s Joueurs de Flute, gave Klio Blonz the chance to show her skill in creating character studies of mythical flute players, Pan, Krishna, Tityre, and a beautifully scored arrangement by Pavel Timofejesky of three of Profofiev’s Five Meoldies combined all three players in another highlight of the afternoon’s music making. This composer was delighted to hear his Thredbo Suite beguilingly performed by this very talented group of players

St. Luke's Concert: Ensemble Burletta

7th October 2016

By Simon Jenner

Superlatives with this concert series might seem monotonous – but judge for yourself: renowned Toccata Classics have released their CD of Hans Gal, one composer featured. The interval saw a buying frenzy. Repertoire-roving Ensemble Burletta, risen stars internationally, fall on Brighton.

Shelley Levy clarinettist partners violinist Katalin Kertész, Nichola Joy Blakey and Cressida Nash on viola and cello.

Rezso Kokai (1906-62) is new to me; his 1952 Quartettino’s a chirruping neo-classical Parisian affair; then suddenly Hungarian, with Zoltan Kodaly’s rhapsodic Summer Evening beating in the swooning heart of its Canzonetta.

Viennese Hans Gal (1890-1987), whom Kodaly called the Lost Hungarian because of his roots, was also a Jewish exile to Edinburgh, where despite co-founding its Festival, he’s not as honoured as his re-emerging fame deserves. His spirited but autumnally gentle 1935 Serenade out-faces persecution (though the ensemble take their name from its shadowy burlesque movement), ending with astonishing serenity.

Kodaly arrives himself at 23, in 1905: his string trio Intermezzo, through rippling modulations edges a penumbra of later melodic warmth. Johnann Nepomuk Hummel (1778-1837) put Beethoven out of business as pianist, with his feared rondos. Haydn gave him his old job. We remember his piano concertos, but his 1807 Quartetto’s deeply loved by chamber players. There’s tension in grace, memorable bubbly invention. If Levy’s eloquent clarinet dominates, the string players with Kertész at their head delight in textures, revelling in solo moments. Collectively stunning.

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