The Astor Ensemble offered a highly commendable interpretation of the Ravel String Quartet. This work, which I have to say that aside from the fact that Andrew Kennedy, the clarinetist who I believe organised the concert, and with whom I share some interesting parallels, (eg, both are fine clarinetists who chose at an early age to pursue other avenues rather than professional playing but still return to the horn it as our primary instrument..he much more successful than I at this point, I have to add), was the drawing card for me to attend this musical offering. I simply adore the Ravel Quartet.
Following the interval, Mr Kennedy joined the quartet for the Brahms Clarinet Quintet, as he put it, the "Van Gogh" of clarinet quintets. Kennedy is a fine clarinetist, and served, as I predicted he may, as an appropriate catalyst to get my small person to Melbourne and rescue my Buffet instrument from hostage and start getting my embouchure back into shape.
A couple of lighthearted delights flanked the program as bookends. They allowed the band to lighten up with artful delight, which they did convincingly and without any need for patronizing smiles from the audience. They did not pander, and that's the important point.
All in all, it was a thoroughly enjoyable concert, and despite the need for scarves and (possibly) woolen hats, the cool venue proved to be acoustically suitable. Even the powering jets flying overhead every 30 minutes or so were thankfully (and rarely) overshadowed by the fine playing that had most of us ignorant of any distractions. And that is something that I am elated to say, when it comes to venues in in the Inner West, is a rarity.