Sophie Rowell violin
Matthew Tomkins violin
Christopher Moore viola
David Berlin cello
Philip Arkinstall clarinet
Mozart Divertimento for String Trio
Brahms Clarinet Quintet
About the performance
Start your Sunday with these two pieces, each composed late in their respective composer’s career.
Approaching sixty, Brahms no longer had any need to prove himself. For him, the tempests of life had passed, its challenges conquered, and he was free now to simply indulge the hard-won mastery of his compositional technique, when the inspiration took him. This came in the form of a brilliant clarinetist, Richard Mühlfeld, whose artistry stirred Brahms to an Indian Summer of creativity.
The clarinet is suited to music of warm, golden colourings, and it’s perfect for conveying Brahms’ reflective mood. But the Clarinet Quintet has become an esteemed masterpiece for much more than that: Brahms’ affection for ‘gypsy’ character and the infectious dance rhythms of folk culture are never far away. The result is a work of beguiling human warmth and pleasure.
Mozart may have intended his string trio as a simple ‘diversion’, but it grew beyond that to become a rich work featuring all the skill of a mature master composer.