Review: A Celebration of Peter Cropper at the Guildhall, Portsmouth

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It was to have been violinist Peter Cropper’s farewell concert, but after his death it turned into a tribute to the man who founded Music in the Round.

His long-term musical partners, cellist Moray Welsh and pianist Malcolm Roscoe, were joined by Benjamin Nabarro in Peter’s seat and in his choice of music by Schubert and Beethoven.

Peter founded Music in the Round, the organisation that provides this Portsmouth Chamber Music series, and Benjamin is leader of its resident Ensemble 360.

With Peter’s playing never about prettiness of tone, Benjamin is in that regard more engaging.

Yet he also provided a strong sense of the founder’s intellectual rigour.

Welsh’s cello consistently highlighted Schubert’s quality of yearning songfulness.

If the slow movement emerged as a requiem for Peter, its intensity was released in the finale’s rhythmically bucolic opening.

Yes, this was a celebration of Peter, and a fitting one.