This is clearly Alasdair Beatson’s concert. He starts by joining Esther Hoppe for Mozart’s celebratory G major Sonata with its flamboyant opening Allegro con spirito that shouts out his joy at escaping his father’s overwhelming attention and the presence of the beautiful soprano, Aloysia Weber. The 1st Quintet by the Polish composer, Grazyna Bacewicz, is a revelation, both lyrical and dissonant, technically demanding and emotionally passionate. This wonderful work dances around a shattering slow movement, a funeral march throbbing with achingly beautiful music, that, in the words of one reviewer, elevates beauty and sadness to a spiritual apotheosis that is breathtaking.
After the interval we are treated to Fauré’s stormy G minor Piano Quartet with its magnificent surging climaxes. The Scherzo is a moto perpetuo
said to be Fauré’s answer to the French railways. As with the Bacewicz the long-breathed Adagio is the emotional centre of this work with its poignant childhood memories of hearing church bells across the fields that echo throughout the movement.