Hall One, Kings Place
Mozart – Clarinet Quintet in A major, KV 581Brahms – Clarinet Quintet in B minor, op.115
Michael Collins (clarinet)
Daniel Rowland, Ian Belton (violins)
Paul Cassidy (viola)
Jacqueline Thomas (cello)
This was a delightful concert from beginning to end, Michael Collins and the Brodsky Quartet imparting seemingly effortless musicality to their performances of the Mozart and Brahms Clarinet Quintets, never, so far as I recall, putting a step wrong. There were no mannerisms, just good and, in the best sense, old-fashioned musicianship. The opening Allegro of the Mozart work sounded with that almost impossible-to-define and yet equally impossible-to-ignore ‘lateness’ of the composer’s ‘late’ works, haunted by beautiful and – crucially – meaningful chiaroscuro. (From 1789, it is not actually so very ‘late’, but anyway…) The tempo here, as elsewhere, sounded just right, so that one did not even notice it. There was profusion of melody, of course, and what melody! In perfect balance, however, there was to be heard decidedly ‘late’ counterpoint, Mozart by now having utterly subsumed the examples of Bach and Handel into his own writing. The development proved quite scintillating, allowing all players to shine. And there were sensual, quasi-operatic delights to be had too, especially during the recapitulation: duets between Collins and Daniel Rowland perhaps especially beguiling.