Sit back and enjoy! What better than lovely music played on a cold Sunday for friends and by friend? The true definition of chamber music. It was delightful to hear Peter Thomas (15 years as leader of the CBSO) heading the Birmingham Ensemble – what a treat.
Schubert wove his magical D minor Quartet around the slow movement variations on his song Death and the Maiden. Initially there is a sharp call attention, where the rhythm was well defined, although at times first violin filigrees were overshadowed. A sonorously beautiful cello solo offset treble intricacies melding into sublime Schubert, then moving via a dynamic scherzo to the frenzied intense final presto.
One admires Birmingham Chamber Music Society for offering platform space to young players in their concerts. Unaccompanied Bach Suites were the treat here, with Diego Vassallo as violin soloist. Communication was not forthcoming, however, in either content of music offered or platform presence. Please smile, Diego, and tell us what we are about to hear. Nerves are allowed, but you need to share your music however daunting the situation.
Clarinettist Mark O’Brien joined the quartet for the Brahms B minor Quintet, not as a highlighted soloist but as an integral part of the lovely Brahmsian texture throughout, with all players appearing in musical spotlights from time to time.
The adagio’s time-signature was not easy to capture mentally, but thankfully eventually settled. Mellow and mysterious accompanying tremolos teased until the familiar third movement, delicate and lively with everyone obviously enjoying themselves.