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Ralph Kirshbaum, James Campbell and Martin Roscoe

Manchester Chamber Concerts Society

RNCM Concert Hall, 21 September 2015

Ralph Kirshbaum. Photo by J. Henry Fair

Ralph Kirshbaum. Photo by J. Henry Fair

The opening concert of the Manchester Chamber Concerts Society season of 2015-16 was a perfect blend of Beethoven and Brahms.

Martin Roscoe, artistic director of the Manchester Chamber Concerts Society, took the piano for all four works, with Ralph Kirshbaum playing cello and James Campbell clarinet. Our well thought out programme took the form:  ABC, AB, AC, ABC. So all three instruments took part in Beethoven’s Trio in B flat (ABC) – and the adagio movement here was the highlight of the concert for me. There was just piano and clarinet for Brahms’s Sonata in E flat (AB) and just piano and cello in Beethoven’s Sonata in A major (AC). At the end we had all three instruments on stage once more for Brahms’s Trio in A minor (ABC). All performers were excellent.

Both composers are associated with the fair city of Vienna and one can sense in Brahms’s music still how Beethoven’s legacy became at once foundation, inspiration and burden. Those occasional tremulous tones; a strained striving, sometimes, for too much. An (albeit infrequent) inelegant abundance. Yet the rewards of Brahms’s music outweighs all. What you were left with at the end of the evening was an overwhelming feeling of delight.

To hear the best composers aright you need to hear their music performed by the best musicians. That’s what this concert gave us and what future concerts promise. Details of forthcoming Manchester Chamber Concerts Society concerts can be found here.