REVIEW: The Soloists of the 12 Ensemble at Budleigh Music Festival

PUBLISHED: 14:58 14 July 2017 | UPDATED: 15:05 14 July 2017

The Budleigh Music Festival's opening concert featured the Soloists of the 12 Ensemble.

The Budleigh Music Festival's opening concert featured the Soloists of the 12 Ensemble.


The opening concert of the 13th Budleigh Music Festival featured the Soloists of the 12 Ensemble, writes John Wokersien.

A mini orchestra that prides itself on being unconducted, they were amazing, and in a league of their own.

Our hosts informed me that at rehearsal the musicians were ‘silky smooth’. And so it was from the beginning of the concert. It was like being wrapped in a warm duvet of sound. The performers took the risks and made me feel safe in the comfort of their virtuosity.

Unlike the ego-fuelled performances of popular music, these young performers suppressed their individuality for the benefit of the ensemble. Not a word was spoken – all the passion and vitality of their youth burst from their instruments, holding the sell-out audience enraptured.

My favourite was the second part of the Dmitri Shostakovich Opus 11 for String Octet which, built into a fervour of ‘dissonant and driving rhythms and contrapuntal techniques’. A crescendo of instruments, counter playing with glorious glissando, sliding up into shrieking high notes on the lead violin, it was simply wonderful.

A superb concert, it was a shame there weren’t more young people to hear such fine musicianship. I bet that if there had been, they would have left with a big ‘Wow – I never expected that!’

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