Tim Homfray hears the performance of Mozart, Schoenberg and Brahms at London’s Wigmore Hall on 23 April 2024


Joyful musicianship from Maria Włoszczowska and friends. Photo: Wigmore Hall Trust 2024

There was a gleeful opening to Mozart’s B flat major String Quintet K174, with dynamic playing from Maria Włoszczowska and colourful touches of vibrato. It was a joyous performance, made clear by all the smiles from the performers. The violinists sculpted the opening theme of the Adagio with exquisite sensitivity. Following the bucolic good humour of the Menuetto and Trio, with touches of comedic exaggerated phrasing, the players chased their tails with gusto in the scalic dialogues of the finale.

We were then transported into the very different world of Schoenberg’s late String Trio, played by all the Tims: violinist Crawford, violist Ridout and cellist Posner. After the manic muscularity of the opening, they skilfully wove together Schoenberg’s disjointed fragments, with their catalogue of string effects and extreme technical demands, drawing from the music moments of great delicacy and emotional heat.

Ridout took the soloist’s role in the viola quintet version of Brahms’s Clarinet Quintet. He was consistently excellent, fluid and robust, with poised beauty at the opening of the Adagio and expressive nuances in the recitative. Posner, meanwhile, gave a beautifully flowing account of the first variation in the finale.