Chineke Chamber Ensemble

Chineke Chamber Ensemble

Chineke Chamber Ensemble

Adelaide Town Hall

16th March


First and foremost, this is a special ensemble, formed by Nigerian-Irish double bassist Chi-Chi Nwanoku and is all about diversity and opportunity for musicians of varying ethnic backgrounds. And in all respects she has succeeded in achieving all her goals, based on the evidence of this concert.

More than this it was also the enthusiasm and apparent joy in music making from all the performers that spilled over to the audience and made the music all that more enjoyable. The sight, for example, of the clarinettist and oboist vigorously moving themselves in in tune with the music was a delight, not to mention the near permanent smile from Chi-Chi herself.

The programme highlighted more recent works, commencing with Martinu’s “Nonet No 2”. Performed by the complete ensemble, sans pianist. This lyrical work was given a wonderful rendition with special mention of violinist Hannah White and Armand Djikoloum on oboe and Mabrakh Haughton-Johnson on clarinet. The Prokofiev quintet which followed was a definite contrast, sparse and angular performed standing and again dripping with infectious enthusiasm. Valerie Coleman’s “Red Clay And Mississippi Delta” certainly contrasted again, the ensemble now comprised of all wind instruments and evoking the sounds of southern USA and is the only classical work that I know of that utilises clicking fingers!

For many the highlight was the premiere of William Barton’s “The Rising Of The Mother Country”. This commission reflects Chi-Chi’s policy of including a one piece in each concert from a composer of relative ethnicity. Barton joined the ensemble on didgeridoo, voice and sticks. The work is energetic, emotive and perhaps a little loose in structure. The concert closed with Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s “Nonet in F Minor” which brought together the whole ensemble in a spirited performance and an even bigger smile from Chi-Chi!

There was nothing not to like about this concert, the concept, the musicians, the music, brilliant!

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