From Bach to Blues
Confetti - flautists Emily Cargill and Dana Parkhill, and cellist Paula Sugden
St Matthew's Church, Hastings, Sunday, May 8
Reviewed by Peter Williams

Here was an innovative, cleverly arranged, themed programme, from a slightly unusual instrumental combination.

It offered an eclectic selection of music designed to appeal to a wide variety of tastes, while highlighting the individual skills of each of these three talented musicians and of the whole ensemble. It certainly succeeded on all counts.

Surprisingly, the programme didn't start with music by Bach - this came later - but the three-movement London Trio by Haydn made a sparkling opening - stylish, skilful playing, elegant phrasing, a balanced and polished performance.


There were two Bach pieces played - Bach in Ireland, a lively arrangement by Canadian composer Maria Miller combining the Gigue from the Suite No 3 for solo cello together with the Corrente from Partita in A, and an Irish jig, and later in the programme a lovely arrangement, expressively played, of the famous Air on the G String.

A folk music sound was clearly projected in the performance of Scandinavian Suite based on Scandinavian folk tunes, and all the necessary tempo and expressive details were in place in the playing of the well-known Hungarian Dance No 1 by Brahms.

Quieter pieces, such as Autumn Leaves and Walking in the Woods, with its imitation bird calls and whistling from Dana Parkhill, showed very expressive playing and examples of captivating solo playing from each of the three instrumentalists. Strongly contrasted arrangements of well-known popular songs It Had to Be You and It's Only a Paper Moon, had plenty of variety of expression and much panache in their performance.

The blues made an appearance in the spectacular final item Mosquito Blues, with its reference to The Flight of the Bumble Bee, another arrangement by Maria Miller.

This was a virtuoso performance using all the possibilities of the instruments, again demonstrating the skill and musicianship of all three players. There were informative spoken introductions from each of the players in turn, to the items on the printed programme, but sometimes delivery was too fast for absolute clarity for the large audience present.