East Neuk Festival finishes with flourish of French horns

Calidore String Quartet
The Scotsman

The final weekend of this year’s East Neuk Festival was as revelatory as it was conclusive – conclusive in the sense that it brought to a close the Time Travellers sub-theme that took root earlier last week in violinist Hugo Ticciati’s improvisations around Bach, Rehnqvist, Vivaldi and Piazzolla; and revelatory in the way that Saturday morning’s final play on music and time (a kind of “Bach to the Future”…) brought to our attention one of the most exciting viola players on the world circuit today.

The Calidore Quartet (* * * *)), in their Saturday afternoon programme, were a more assured presence, firstly in their colourful, multi-grained performance of Schubert’s single-movement Quartettsatz, then in Osvaldo Golijov’s plaintive Tenebrae, with its ephemeral addition of soprano (Mhairi Lawson) and liquidly lyrical clarinet (Maximiliano Martin), and more especially in Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet, Martin’s playful rapport with the quartet unleashing novelty and surprise.

For Sunday’s finale, ENF repeated its major success of two years ago by commissioning – jointly with London’s South Bank – another major outdoor piece from American composer John Luther Adams. For Across the Distance (* * * *)), Cambo Estate’s walled gardens became a theatre space for 32 French horn players – professionals, amateurs and local youngsters – whose individual mobile arpeggios fused like a sweet cacophony of fanfares. It was a magical experience for the scattered audience to experience the golden resonance of the shifting timbres colliding and splintering like some ghostly homage to Wagner. Even better, the weather defied predictions, allowing the whole event – which included a specially-written Cambo Mambo by Richard Michael and Luther Adams’s Drums of Winter – to unfold with ritualistic mystique and finally dissipate into the humid Fife air.

Read the rest of the review here