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Symphonies Nos. 49 in F minor ‘La passione’ & 44 in E minor ‘Trauer'; Violin Concerto in C H.VIIa:1; Keyboard Concerto in D, H. XVIII:11

ensemble F2 (debut concert)
Rachel Podger (violin)
Gary Cooper (keyboard)

Wigmore Hall 27 February 2009

ensembleF2 is a new small orchestra making its debut concerts at Wigmore Hall. Its obscure name, unexplained in the programme book, is not made for effective publicity? Perhaps it was explained in a pre-concert talk by their spokespersons Jane Booth and Anneke Scott?*

In their introductory programme note, ensemble F2 celebrates the opportuity to choose as players "the people we hope will be each others' future". The biographies of each member show international provenance of a carefully selected group of chamber and period instrument specialists. The problem for the administration will be keeping the group together against the claims upon each of them from orchestras and chamber groups.Their website shows that financially they have not got beyond their second concert, Mozart chamber music 17 April, also at Wigmore Hall.

The first concert, entitled ‘Passione’, commemorated Haydn’s death 200 years ago with two Sturm und Drang symphonies and a couple of concertos, played by two of our most illustrious soloists, who have together recorded all Mozart's sonatas on period instruments. The symphonies were given with superb control and subtle cammand of timbre and balance. The most popular of Haydn's keyboard concerto was given a superb outing on fortepiano, behing which little was to be seen except Gary Cooper's head. The violin concertos have never achieved like popularity, and this one was not greatly memorable, though it had been given in great style by Rachel Podger, who has an unique way of involving everyone when leadng from the violin, absolutely riveting.

Best of good luck to ensemble F2 and our hope that their wishes come true and their appeals for sponsorship bear fruit...

Peter Grahame Woolf

* LOGANARTS explains: good question .. always big debates about new names ... we did not want to root it too closely to a specific period or style .. so tried to keep it contemporary-ish (of today) - a bit of a play of mathematics, violin 'f' holes and forte markings. Largely .... an abstract name. [Editor]