BSO String Ensemble at Third Floor Arts Centre, Portsmouth

Poet and author Benjamin Zephaniah

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In this first collaboration between the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Portsmouth’s Music in the Round series, the playing had a constant sense of musicians listening to and sparking off each other. Just the job in fact.

The programme began with a String Trio movement (D471) by Schubert, ending with the kind of wistfulness that was to become the composer’s hallmark. In Mozart’s Dissonance Quartet, K465, the players highlighted what in the 18th century must have seemed outrageous harmonic modulations, and in the expressive slow movement the repeated four-note figure was invested with limitless feeling.

Then Kevin Banks proved what every BSO concert-goer at Portsmouth Guildhall knows – that he is a supreme clarinettist.

His musical instincts are reinforced by a technical mastery based on wondrous breath control, and in the Brahms Clarinet Quintet that enabled him to shape every yearning phrase with subtlety, every nostalgic paragraph with a sense of the long line.