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Ensemble Marsyas - Zelenka Sonatas - The Irish Times


28 September 2012
The Irish Times
Michael Dervan

These sonatas, by Jan Dismas Zelenka, may be nearly 300 years old, but the Bohemian composer's music has lost nothing of its capacity to surprise. In fact, if you encounter it in all innocence as a player (as I did as a student exploring trio sonatas) you might end up in a state of shock at the composer's wilful demands. Just sample the start of the Trio Sonata No 5, for two oboes and continuo, which follows its almost deliriously meandering opening with a clucking excursion for bassoon.

The new Ensemble Marsyas, which will be appearing at the East Cork Early Music Festival next month - the Irish connection is ace bassoonist Peter Whelan, and the Irish Baroque Orchestra's artistic director Monica Huggett joins in a sonata involving violin - get the bit between their teeth, and deliver their chosen music with communicative relish.
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