FESTIVAL OF CHICHESTER REVIEW: Kosmos, St John’s Chapel

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When I asked a friend to accompany me to a concert last night, a friend who had never heard of the Kosmos ensemble, this was what I said to her: ‘Imagine everything that is great about music, the rigour of the classical repertoire, the tunefulness of folk music, the willingness to seek the new in modern, and above all, the source of music itself, the passions of the human spirit, that is what Kosmos is about’, she happily accompanied me, intrigued.

Our only disappointment was that it did not last forever. Kosmos involves you like no other music I know. It takes you into itself. The music waits on a precipice, over which you both yearn and fear to fall. The music soars, you soar too; the music is playful, you find yourself laughing. There’s a moment when they even create the song of a lark: you cannot believe how creative these musicians are.

In fact, that’s exactly what sets these musicians apart. All three – Meg Hamilton on the viola, Harriet Mackenzie on the violin, the Serbian Milos Milivojevic on the accordion – are classically trained, and the virtuoso pieces are phenomenal. But what they have done, quite literally, is to travel the world (‘Kosmos’ means ‘world’, ‘order’, ‘beauty’ in Greek), seeking out its oldest and most enduring music, and create something quite new and magical, something you have to hear to believe.

Olivia Fane