The Berkeley Ensemble may additionally owe its lineup of 8 – string quartet plus double bass, with clarinet, bassoon, and horn – to Schubert, who wrote his Octet for the one’s gadgets, but their championing of the contemporary tune gives the institution its unique identity.
For this performance in St David’s Hall’s night-song collection, interest-targeted generally on three new octets attributable to Berkeley’s collaboration with the music community Tŷ Cerda’s composer improvement initiative, Codi, whose initials play on the Welsh word which means to “upward thrust up”. Each piece handled the sound spectrum offered using the instruments in markedly different approaches: Carlijn Metselaar, a Dutch composer in Wales.
Become involved to find approaches for her Octet’s voices to communicate with each other, its final quick duet among clarinet and viola suggesting a closing consensus of feeling. In Sarah Lianne Lewis’s Sunflowers in Autumn, strings and wind have been to begin with handled as entirely disparate elements and, in the slow accretion of layers, it turned into the gamers’ quiet whistling that introduced an exciting extra texture before fading to an give up. Lynne Plowman’s Carbon Sky – its title taken from a Robert Desnos poem – deepened the color palette by having the clarinetist also play bass clarinet and the bassoonist double on contrabassoon. With protest as its subject, sturdy and percussive statements contrasting with more extraordinary lyrical fabric and transferring toward an assertive unison, Plowman unashamedly opted for effect.