Even if the Portsmouth Chamber Music series had offered nothing else of note, it would have proved its worth with the performance of Cesar Franck’s Sonata in A major by two of Britain’s outstanding instrumentalists.
The music’s deeply personal nature and impassioned lyricism were movingly and thrillingly caught by violinist Peter Cropper, founder of the Music in the Round organisation that still forms the backbone of these concerts, and by inspired and inspiring pianist Benjamin Frith.
Mr Cropper introduced a more delicate array of colouring than he had in sonatas by Mozart (K454) and Beethoven (Op 30 No 2).
His communicative instincts were never in doubt but in the quick sections of those earlier pieces his tone had seemed consistently severe, with only the slow movements achieving the depth of feeling that permeated the Franck.
But Mr Frith took full advantage of the Third Floor’s glorious Steinway to reveal the whole programme’s rhythmic and expressive subtleties.