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A New Recital within the British Music Season

Thursday, 24 January 2013 , ora 9.06
On Wednesday, 23rd January,the British Council Romania marked the 100th anniversary of composer Benjamin Britten's birth by opening the programme dedicated to the famous musician within a new edition of the British Composition Season.

Four young artists, reunited under the title of Benyounes Quartet offered a recital dedicated to the contemporary British creation - at the "Romanian Youth" National Art Center - on whose playbill you could find works by Philip Cashian, Hugh Wood and Benjamin Britten. Founded in 2007 as a trio, the ensemble is presently one of Great Britain's most appreciated young chamber music groups. On the first musical evening spent in Bucharest, violist Adam Newman joined violinists Zara Benyounes and Emily Holland and cellist Kim Vaughan.

The first composition presented to the audience, String Quartet No. 3 by Hugh Wood, proposed an incursion into a musical world in which serialism alternates with exuberant rhythmical passages and lyrical accents; and Philip Cashian's work entitled Samaian, is inspired by the homonymous painting signed by Leonora Carrington, transposing the real, vivid image into an original musical language in which the static blends with the dynamic. Benjamin Britten's String Quartet No. 3 was the last score created by the British composer. Not randomly was it chosen to end Benyounes Quartet's recital. The strong contrasts between the lyrical themes played polyphonically and the effects of the sometimes violent instruments outlined an opus that surprised and called for applause, being situated at the frontier between conventional and innovative, traditional and new, between the respective music and the superposition of the musical texts.

Alis Vasile
, Arts Project Manager British Council Romania, told us how the idea of inviting the four members of the ensemble occured:

"The proposal came from the trustee of the musical programme of this project, Mister Philip Cashian, which is a composer and Head of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London. We aim to promote not only the new musical compositions, but also young musicians according to the available resources.

The Benyounes Ensemble is one of Great Britain's most appreciated groups and they already have an international career. The Ensemble itself has formed at an academy of music, and we have wanted to add a new taste of freshness in order to encourage the young Romanian performers."

Violinist Zara Benyounes:

"We all love chamber music, especially the strings quartets; in addition we are all good friends. We decided to play together and we enjoyed it very much, so we continued. That was six years ago. Then I left for the Conservatory of Geneva where I studied with Gabor Takacs, the Hungarian violinist.

We came to perform in Romania at the invitation of Philip Cashian, who suggested us musical works that suited his composition. So, he suggested Britten's Quartet to celebrate the composer's centennary year. As for Hugh Wood's work, we performed it on his 80th birthday and we were successful.

We met wonderful composers, eager to try new things and the collaboration with them proved out to be fruitful."

The success of Thrusday's performance announces other two musical halts of the British Composition Season which are due on 27th February and 27th March.

Alexandra Cebuc
Translated by Iulia Florescuand Elena Daniela Radu
MTTLC, Bucharest University