The lunch-time concert of music for piano and wind that the Fibonacci Sequence gave at St. Mary’s Church in Putney on 2 February, 2007, had the deceptive air of having come together almost spontaneously, prefacing a major ensemble work with three short duos. Yet the resulting variety was delectable and made the coming-together of all the players in the final work climactic. Art concealing art — and that, too, characterized all the performances, which were unforced, unmannered, natural, but of the highest order of artistry, technique and tight ensemble.
Nick Korth played Richard Strauss’s very rarely heard, subtly Wagnerian Andante for horn and piano (from an incomplete sonata that was presumably intended for his father) with pure, singing tone and perfect control, the ensemble’s founder and director Kathron Sturrock at the piano, Oliver Knussen’s Elegiac Arabesques (In Memoriam Andrzej Panufnik) for cor anglais (Christopher O'Neal) and clarinet (Julian Farrell) was the most rewarding of the duos, with its wide-ranging, expressively ornate lines and ever-changing colours, the two instruments, similar in tessitura, continually crossing and interweaving. Despite Richard Skinner’s elegance and beauty of tone and Kathron Sturrock’s clear and sensitive piano playing, Henri Sauguet’s Barcarolle for bassoon and piano proved less interesting.
All the greater then the revelation of the final work, Mozart’s great Quintet in E flat for piano and wind, K452, one of his own favourite works. Stunning precision of ensemble, of tempi and of intonation — not easy in the combination of wind with piano — were at once taken for granted and forgotten in a performance that combined the greatest naturalness and intimacy of conversation between the players with wonderful Mozartean style and the most carefully thought-out phrasing. One would travel far to hear another Mozart performance like this.