Wolfgang Holzmair/Nash Ensemble, Wigmore Hall, London

3.00

The first half of this concert in the Nash Ensemble's current Around Schubert series was dominated by the gaunt presence and fierce delivery of the distinguished baritone Wolfgang Holzmair. A little too gaunt and fierce, perhaps, for the sprightlier of the Beethoven arrangements of British folksongs with which he began though "The Pulse of an Irishman", with its frisky piano-trio vampings, took off nicely enough.

Far more appropriate were the six Heine settings, five of them darkly despairing, from the Schwanengesang collection of late Schubert songs, put together after his death and heard here in a new arrangement for nine players by David Matthews. Some worked better than others: the proto-Wagnerian progressions of "Der Atlas" had one hankering for a full orchestra; and Holzmair's sound, still noble in mezza voce, tended to harshness under pressure. But in the terrifying "Der Doppelgänger", Matthews' imaginative alternation of dark string and wind sonorities, and Holzmair's mounting intensity stunned a packed house.

In between we had a rarity: the Grand Septet in D by Ignaz Moscheles, a friend of Mendelssohn and purveyor of genial salon works. This one was more miniature piano concerto than true chamber music. While Ian Brown rippled away decoratively, the other instruments had little in the way of solos or thematic give-and­take. And though the textures of its four classically constructed movements glowed, none of its melodies stuck in the mind.

Even the most cursory first-time listener to Schubert's Piano Trio in B flat could hardly escape unobsessed by its many tunes. Admittedly, this is partly because Schubert finds so many ingenious ways of repeating them in the leisurely unfolding of a score that so radiantly resists the encroaching darkness of much of his later music. Yet, often as these players have tackled it, their reading came up fresh as fresh, with violinist Marianne Thorsen and cellist Paul Watkins playfully imitating one another's tones and phrasings in their close dialogues, while Brown kept the piano part spinning along with delectable lightness.

Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea