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Judith Weir Portrait

Schubert Ensemble

Purcell Room29 March 2006

Judith Weir

Rain and mist are on the mountain, I'd better buy some shoes
for two violins;
Piano Trio No.2 (2003-4);
St Agnes for viola and cello (2005 WP)
David Knotts Kitharodia for piano quartet

Judith Weir What sound will chase elephants away? for two double basses (2006 WP)
Gabriel Faure Piano Quintet No.1 in D minor, Op.89

Judith Weir chose an odd selection of minor chips off her block to represent herself in this Portrait Concert, and she shot herself in the foot (at the same time making her audience indebted to her) by allowing the memory of her own pieces to be eclipsed by a great masterwork, Fauré's rarely heard Piano Quintet No.1 in D minor, Op.89.

Its long spans of continuous development trivialised by contrast and propinquity Weir's bright, audience-friendly music which is easy to enjoy first time, but leaves little for re-hearing (I was disconcerted to find how her Chinese Opera, truly innovative and exciting when new, palled on re-acquaintance at its current revival). Best and most substantial was her 2nd piano trio, enjoyed more when first heard given by its Florestan dedicatees.

The first hearing for most of us of a double bass duet was a wasted opportunity, and an expensive one - two full fees for three minutes of music! I trust this was merely work in progress; the material would readily lend itself to working up to a substantial ten minute piece, surely?

I hope that the Schubert Ensemble will soon find an opportunity to revive the equally wonderful second Fauré Quintet, op 115 in C minor?

© Peter Grahame Woolf