Emma Johnson and Friends at Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral

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Club Scene with Sam Cherry

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CLARINETTIST Emma Johnson was the star turn – not only as player but as programme-builder and as arranger of Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata.

The arpeggione is a cross between guitar and cello, briefly popular in Schubert’s time, and his sonata is now usually played by cellists. But Ms Johnson made her clarinet version sound best of all. She ‘sells’ music to an audience by shading her tone with songlike subtlety and through an almost balletic presence.

This was evident in the dark, lyrical moments at the end of the sonata’s first movement, through the deepest of emotions in the adagio (a rare marking for Schubert, duly observed), to the finale’s dance sequence.

Pianist Andrew West was an equal, musicianly partner in this and throughout, which ended with soprano Claire Booth joining for Schubert’s The Shepherd On The Rock.