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CONCERT REVIEW: The Marylebone Trio, South Holland Concerts, South Holland Centre, Spalding




Jemma Bausor (oboe), Helen James (clarinet) and Alexandra Davidson (bassoon) stood up for the woodwind family in Spalding on Sunday.

The second, and final, recital in the 35th season of South Holland Concerts featured The Marylebone Trio playing works by Bach, Schubert, Beethoven, Mozart and Britten.

Surprisingly, the trio (who all met at London’s Royal Academy of Music) revealed the shortage of pieces written for the three instruments before the 20th century.

The Marylebone Trio are Jemma Bausor (oboe), Alexandra Davidson (bassoon) and Helen James (clarinet). Photo by Michael Clement.
The Marylebone Trio are Jemma Bausor (oboe), Alexandra Davidson (bassoon) and Helen James (clarinet). Photo by Michael Clement.

Helen said: "In classical times, the instruments weren't very developed so there weren't many people writing music for them.

"Today there is lots of 20th century music, but a recital just made up of compositions from this period would be a bit much."

Despite this, the Marylebone Trio blended works by the all-time greats with pieces by lesser-known composers, including Englishman Richard Walthew, Frenchman Jacques Ibert and German Johann Ernst Galliard whose contributions to woodwind music were introduced to the South Holland Centre audience.

Helen James (Clarinet), Alexandra Davidson (Bassoon) and Jenna Bausor (Oboe) are The Marylebone Trio. Photo by Michael Clement.
Helen James (Clarinet), Alexandra Davidson (Bassoon) and Jenna Bausor (Oboe) are The Marylebone Trio. Photo by Michael Clement.

Speaking about the trio themselves, Alexandra said: "Jemma and myself were at the Royal Academy of Music (RAM) together and we had to do things as a group of postgraduates, putting together material for concerts.

"As students, we were just left to it in terms of what to play and who to play with.

"So we put something together with another clarinettist as a bit of fun to start with.

"But when we RAM, there was no work set up for us and as we were all living in London, we were faced with a choice of whether to keep on playing or not.

"When our previous clarinettist left in 2012, we worked with Helen and a few others.

The Marylebone Trio, Helen James (left), Alexandra Davidson and Jemma Bausor (right). Photo by Michael Clement.
The Marylebone Trio, Helen James (left), Alexandra Davidson and Jemma Bausor (right). Photo by Michael Clement.

"Jemma and I then had a conversation and decided to continue working with Helen because she was really nice and she was someone we could build a rapport with.

"Now we don't really think of The Marylebone Trio as a bit of a fun thing to do and, over the years, we've picked up various things that people have written for strings and piano, but arranging them for our own instruments,"

The trio’s passion for their respective instruments was also shown with a solo item for each instrument.

But the best bits were when the instruments worked in harmony, especially during Walthew’s Triolet and Alan Danson’s Three Winds in a Boat.

Helen James (Clarinet), Alexandra Davidson (Bassoon) and Jenna Bausor (Oboe) are The Marylebone Trio. Photo by Michael Clement.
Helen James (Clarinet), Alexandra Davidson (Bassoon) and Jenna Bausor (Oboe) are The Marylebone Trio. Photo by Michael Clement.

Jemma said: "We love the educational side of what we do, running chamber music workshops for both children and adults, because you never know what's going to happen.

"It teaches you a lot when you have to think of games to play and we've had to do lots of different things whilst, at the same time, willingly giving time to a lot of orchestras.

There was even room for an encore, Georges Pfeiffer’s Musette, to end an entertaining and informative concert in Spalding.

The Marylebone Trio, Helen James (back), Alexandra Davidson and Jemma Bausor (right). Photo by Michael Clement.
The Marylebone Trio, Helen James (back), Alexandra Davidson and Jemma Bausor (right). Photo by Michael Clement.

Helen said: "The oboe and bassoon are becoming rarer, particularly because they are expensive instruments and there's also a change in the way that music is taught.

"We're trying to show that these types of instruments are just as worthy of the concert platform as the strings, percussion and brass sections.

"There's a real mix of pieces, although they aren't lengthy works, that we play and a lot people tell us that they haven't had a chance to hear these instruments, apart from in an orchestral setting."

Review and interview by Winston Brown



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