OH, WHAT A GLORIOUS EVENING!
The Frith Piano Quartet has played before in Cockermouth, but never with more panache and effect than when they presented three piano quintets for Cockermouth Music Society with the help of top double bass player Chi chi Nwanoku.
Ben Frith , piano, with string players Robert Heard, violin, Louise Williams,viola, Richard Jenkinson, cello, and Chi chi Nwanoku, double bass, began with an exciting performance of Hummel’s Piano quintet, which had plenty of verve and exuberance to carry it along and this was followed by a rare performance of a wonderful quintet by Vaughan Williams which has hardly ever been played. This is a great pity as it proved to be a wonderful composition with some Brahmsian overtones at first, but then developing true romantic beauty, very much in the style we associate with this composer. Piano and string interludes were alternated in an unusual way and the piece ends with a truly emotional but peaceful tranquillity which was impressive. The audience appropriately held its breath before according it some heartfelt applause.
The final piece was Schubert’s great Trout Quintet where every player excelled, Ben Frith instinctively controlling tempi and playing in his inimitably gripping style, Robert Heard playing with assurance, Louise Williams always controlled and coming out when required for solos, Richard Jenkinson producing rich bass sound and
Chi chi Nwanoku giving us that satisfying deep bass resonance, never overdone, but without which these quintets would not be the great works they are. Such joyous playing was a wonderful end to the Society’s professional season and was much enjoyed by the large and enthusiastic audience.