By Regine Müller, in RP Online
The four men of the fabulous Hilliard Ensemble, interlaced with the soft sounds of the five viols of Fretwork: it’s hard to imagine a more noble combination. Both groups come from England, have known each other a long time and complement each other with infinite gradations of dark, autumnal colours.
It was the final concert of the Düsseldorf Festival in the Johanneskirche. It quickly became clear that the compositions of the 31-year-old American, Nico Muhly and the 69-year-old Briton, Gavin Bryars drink from the same from the same spiritual and musical cup. In particular: Muhlys “My Days”, a work commissioned for the Hilliard Ensemble and Fretwork had its German premiere. Melodically, Gavin Bryars’ five-movement “Cadman Requiem” recalled Gabriel Fauré’s gently melancholy “Requiem.”.
It was an intimate evening, illuminated from within, and the audience listened with rapt attention. It was only released on the final note of the Gibbons encore, when the top string of the treble viol broke with an audible “bang!”. What a finish!