Review: Ossian Ensemble
Venue: Unitarian Chapel, Sunday, May 2
The city of York is full rare gems that host music events for those who delight in the experience of watching live performances. The Unitarian Chapel is no exception. Hidden away on St Saviourgate, York’s oldest non-conformist church hosts Late Music concerts featuring an array of works from a range of prestigious artists.
I had the pleasure of attending the venue to watch the Ossian Ensemble perform a variety of works by living composers. Little did I realise this experience would transport me from the humble setting of the chapel to a sonic realm of the most innovative contemporary music.
In opening with Darren Bloom’s Duo, the audience was introduced to an exciting juxtaposition of canons for violin and cello; performed with remarkable interaction between the musicians to reveal the most evocative harmonies with moments of tonal ambiguity.
This was followed by a range of extraordinary musical works, including Steve Crowther’s Kiszko, reflecting the story of Stefan Kiszko with eloquence and sensitivity. Martin Suckling shared his Three Venus Haiku, emulating haunting melodies with jazz infused elements and dissonant twists, followed by a treat of Bagatelles by David Lumsdaine, where the synthesis of short musical excerpts whispered suggestions of contrasting cultures and styles.
The second half opened with astounding interpretations of the featured works, as the performers gripped the audience with the delivery of both conjunct and syncopated rhythms, giant interval leaps and incredible dynamic contrasts. The evening concluded with a rendition of George Crumb’s ethereal Vox Balaenae, emulating the beautiful auditory shapes of a whale’s song amidst the arrangement of deep blue stage lighting.
A true pleasure for all music lovers to experience and enjoy, I encourage readers to explore the unforgettable experiences that Late Music has to offer.