Bartosz Woroch - violin
Adam Newman - viola
Brian O'Kane - cello
Michael McHale - piano
Bach, Wallace, Hammond, Barber, Bax, Bridge & Mozart
Selection from 15 Inventions, BWV 772-786
Detail to follow
Detail to follow
Fantasy Quartet in F# minor
Piano Quartet No.2 in Eb K493
Performing for us on 27th April, the Cappa Ensemble evolved initially from a string quartet but now extensively presents works written for both strings and piano. It has established for itself a highly respected reputation in many parts of the world, and each of the young members are soloists in their own right having won many accolades and plaudits individually.
An unavoidable change to the original programme resulted in the Finzi Prelude and Fugue being replaced by nine Bach Three-Part Inventions (originally written for keyboard) arranged for string trio together with three solo piano pieces. Exquisitely phrased and modulated with each instrument following its allotted voice, the Inventions - miniature masterpieces - immediately showed the players' great range of sensitive dynamics and subtlety - characteristics which were apparent throughout the whole programme. The piano pieces, two based on Irish folk songs by William Wallace and Philip Hammond, and one a Nocturne in homage to John Field by Samuel Barber showed what an outstanding musician and brilliant pianist this young man is.
Coming together after the interval the four artists gave a most exciting and powerful rendering of the Piano Quartet of Sir Arnold Bax followed by the romantic Fantasy Quartet in Fsharp minor by Frank Bridge. Both composers were contemporaries living in the last part of the 19th century and into the first half of the 20th and although each expressed their musical thoughts differently both works featured in this case, one continual movement.
Lastly, the Mozart Eflat K493 Piano Quartet was played exuberantly throughout, with again great subtlety of tone and dynamics. The three movements from the beginning Allegro with its scintillating running passages, through the slow Aflat Largetto, to the final sparkling Allegretto in rondo form all showed great masterly musicianship, precision and beauty of tone.
This concert will doubtless be remembered as one of the best of its genre and these young men must surely have an exciting future in the musical world.
"…Why can the playing of 25-year old Northern Irish pianist Michael McHale be as fluent and inspired as, say, Lang Lang, and yet we don't know him? …Michael McHale remains the discovery of the evening: a magician who glides across the keys…"
Christiane Peitz, Der Tagesspiegel, August 2008
"The Cappa’s performance was persuasive….There was subtlety and power in the playing… [a] spot-on performance."
Michael Dervan, Irish Times, November 2010