Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Little Nightmare Music

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Little Nightmare Music

Article excerpt

Byline: BARRY MILLINGTON

CLASSICAL Schubert Ensemble/Martin Butler premiere Goldsmiths' Hall, EC2

FEW groups have done more to promote new music than the Schubert Ensemble.

Over the two decades since they were founded (they celebrate their 20th anniversary this year), they have added more than 30 new pieces to the repertoire, and that's not counting no fewer than 50 pieces commissioned for their Chamber Music 2000 project.

Their latest commission is from Martin Butler, whose new piano quartet they performed alongside works by Brahms and Schumann in their City of London Festival concert at Goldsmiths' Hall last night.

As though to obviate comparison with such masterpieces of the genre, Butler has produced a work that stands right outside the mainstream German tradition - indeed, that reinvents it. A concise single-movement structure, it depicts a nocturnal landscape, with impressionistic colouring and shimmering textures that become agitated as the movement gathers momentum. The middle section is prey to apprehensive scurrying and nightmarish visions, but calm is restored with the return of the original material. …

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