Here's a nice review from one of our members, Chris Shaw.
The first concert of 2017 brought an interestingly mixed bag of delights to Richmond. Think of a piano quintet with double bass, and Schubert’s 'Trout' Quintet will probably spring to mind, but the Frith ensemble showed us that the repertoire goes well beyond that.
We began with Mozart's Piano Quartet No. 1. The calm, relaxed style of the Frith Quartet suited this admirably, with the excellent acoustics of the hall helping to produce a really good balance among the instruments. The musicians were then joined by the bass player, John Tattersdill, for the rarely heard Vaughan Williams Piano Quintet. I’m sure this must have been a first hearing for most of the audience as even Ben Frith, the pianist, admitted to not knowing it before rehearsals began. The fullness and depth of sound were a real contrast to the Mozart and, being a very early Vaughan Williams work, gave a clear idea of where his music was going to progress to in future years.
After the interval the five players returned for the 'Trout'; back to real clarity of writing and a great opportunity to hear some beautifully rich sounds from the viola and the bass in particular. Forgive me for saying this, but sometimes Schubert can 'go on a bit' - not so in this performance. With only one repeat missed in the first movement, it was a real delight from beginning to end, the subtle style of the Frith again suiting it admirably. No prima donnas here, just an excellent blending of sound.
Thinking that an encore was out of the question for this combination of instruments, we were proved wrong with the finale of Hummel's Piano Quintet. A real showpiece this, particularly for the piano, with Ben Frith dazzling us with his amazing technique. A stunning end to an evening of treasures.
The Frith Quartet, with John Tattersdill (photo by Jane Morris Abson)
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