Chineke! Chamber Ensemble - Edinburgh International Festival: Chamber Music Highlights 2021 - Edinburgh Music Review

The six-minute first movement of Nonet with its cheerful opening and tootling winds has become familiar. It’s great to hear it live and to appreciate the qualities of these nine instruments together. The strings and piano are on the left, while Nwanoku on double bass is centre stage and the four wind players are on the right. Coleridge-Taylor, a faster developer than Vaughan Williams wrote this when he was only 18. Already we can see his interest in melody and strong rhythm that within a few years would see his ‘Hiawatha’ become such a popular work. I imagine he would have liked this performance, boisterous and forceful, with the sounds of the French Horn (Francisco Gomez) and bassoon (Linton Stephens) ringing out clearly. The Scherzo is witty with scampering notes in the piano, strings, and higher winds (Titus Underwood, oboe and Sacha Rattle, clarinet). The final movement ends with a series of syncopated rhythms which may perhaps contain a hint of these Hiawatha opening drums…

Chamber music is not often as engrossing or as much fun as this! The Chineke! performers combine a fearless panache with high standards of instrumental precision. They enjoyed themselves and so did the audience.

Edinburgh Music Review
17 August 2021