Music and Musicians, October 1954

The Guildhall Ensemble gave a String Orchestral Concert at the Chelsea Town Hall on October 13. The programme was enterprising, and with a conductor a imaginative as Matyas Seiber and a soloist as distinguishe as Dennis Brain it was depressing to see the hall so empty presumably Chelsea supports pictorial art more readily than musical art. Maybe the dreadful acoustics of the Town Hall deterred some, for it is impossible to gain fair impression of what is being played where there such excessive resonance.

    The programme contained the first performance of Serenade for Strings by the young South African, Hube Du Plessis. This composer seems to have certain emotional qualities, and although this work is not strikingly original, and could perhaps be compressed little, yet it holds the interest. Dennis Brain astonished everyone, as he always does, with the ease and brilliance of his playing, both in the Mozart Horn Quintet (which was played concertante with small string orchestra), an also in the deeply evocative Notturno of Matyas Seiber. His perfect intonation, tonal graduations, sensitive phrasing and complete simplicity made his part of the programme joy to listen to in spite of the accoustics!

Anthony Wright