The Magnard Ensemble are the December guests in the Chichester Chamber Concerts series.
Suzie Clements (flute), Mana Shibata (oboe), Joseph Shiner (clarinet), Catriona McDermid (bassoon) and Jonathan Farey (horn) will deliver a programme comprising Ligeti – Sechs Bagatellen; Bach (arr Shiner) – Prelude and Fugue in C sharp minor; Woolrich – Book of Studies Set 1; Haydn – Divertimento in B flat major Hob ll:46; Nielsen – Wind Quintet Op.43; and Patterson – Westerly Winds
Tickets for their recital in The Assembly Room in the Chichester Council House in North Street are available from Chichester Festival Theatre. They perform on Thursday, December 6.
The ensemble was formed at the Royal Academy of Music in 2012, with Catriona joining them three years later: “I happened to know Joe who is the clarinettist,” she explains. “When there was a change I came in and deputised for a bit and then they decided that I was alright and could stay! They had been going for two or three years by then.”
Inevitably it can be difficult to step into an established group, but it was also great fun, Catriona said: “It was very easy to slip into an ensemble which has been going for however many years. They all know what they are doing. It is much easier doing that than starting from scratch. To be honest, I didn’t really know their work until Joe said to me ‘Do you want to come in?’ But it felt good quickly, and the feel of it all was good fun. We have a lot of fun in rehearsals, but we do get stuff done! The rapport is really great, but it is all open for discussion so you can contribute as well.”
It’s a competitive world out there: “But we play off the fact that we are quite quirky and we play stuff that is off piste a little. We had a great time with the Roald Dahl that we did for his centenary.”
During 2016 their Revolting Rhymes and Marvellous Music project celebrated what would have been Dahl’s 100th birthday. Dahl’s words were set to music and a narrator came in: “We trialled it and everyone was just rolling around laughing, which was great. It was brilliant and just took off from there, and it all just came from coaching that we had had from the composer. It was just meant to be. It was handed to us on a plate in some ways, but we just had to run with it.
“I think you just have to figure out what makes you tick, and doing this fun stuff, doing things which are slightly different is what we are about, I think – things that tie in with our repertoire. We like contemporary music by new composers, and we have built up a whole range of new pieces.
"The wind quintet has been around as a group since the late classical era only, so there is not a huge wealth of repertoire going very far back, so we get new composers to write for us.
"We also take other pieces and bring them into our fold. There are certain things that you can’t adapt, and there are certain things that will adapt better for five woodwind instruments than others, and there are things that will work well. You can really change the sound world because of the changing set-up.”