In 1969, a group of young stars took the stage together in the recently opened Queen Elizabeth Hall to perform a much-loved piece for strings and piano. Their collaboration was filmed by Christopher Nupen for what was soon recognised as a landmark documentary.
These performers – pianist Daniel Barenboim, cellist Jacqueline du Pré, violinist Itzhak Perlman, violist Pinchas Zukerman and Zubin Mehta on double bass – were to become known as some of the greatest musicians of the 20th century.
Now Benjamin Grosvenor and his friends unite for a contemporary presentation of this piece with a powerful history, alongside two gem of the chamber music repertoire and a contemporary work by Brett Dean.
Grosvenor has been performing at Southbank Centre since 2012, when he was 20 years old. He is joined for this concert by the Korean violinist Hyeyoon Park, the Australian composer and violist Brett Dean, Kian Soltani, who is principal cellist with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, and double bassist Leon Bosch.
The evening is centred on two pieces performed this evening were both written when their composers were barely out of their teens – Brahms wrote his First Piano Quartet at 23, and Schubert his Trout Quintet at 22. Each features a lively ‘gipsy-style’ finale infused with folk idioms.
The second movement of Brahms’ Piano Quartet is said to make reference to the composer’s love for his friend Robert Schumann’s wife, Clara, by adopting the ‘Clara’ melody that appears in Schumann’s music. In the Quartet’s 1861 premiere, she performed the piano part.
Schubert’s Trout Quintet is an ideal introduction to the Romantic composer’s melodious oeuvre. It was the result of a commission to write a piece of chamber music based on his song Die Forelle – The Trout, which was an instant hit with contemporary audiences. Variations on the rippling music of the lied can be heard in the Quintet’s fourth movement.
In contrast to the Trout Quintet, Schubert's late Notturno Piano Trio was one of the final pieces the composer completed, and was published posthumously two decades after his death.
There's also the chance to hear Australian composer Brett Dean perform his own Skizzen für Siegbert for solo viola, the premiere performance of the work by Dean in the UK. Commissioned as the set piece for a viola competition, Dean wrote Skizzen as a tribute to his friend and colleague in the Berlin Philharmonic's viola section, Siegbert Ueberschaer. This dual functionality is reflected in the piece's character: its reflective and elegiac outer movements bookend a virtuosic central section.
PerformersBenjamin Grosvenor piano
RepertoireSchubert: Piano Trio in E flat, D.897 (Notturno)
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