The main work for this concert was Messaien’s “Quartet for the End of Time” (leaving out the seventh movement). This complex and powerful work, premiered in a prison camp, featured long swelling notes and jagged rhythms, slow melodies and bursts of notes resembling birdsong. Different parts featured different instruments, and all Antony Brannick’s guests played beautifully. Rachael Gibbons’ clarinet solo had both solemn melody and trills. There was a bluesy feel to the movement played by Will Mace on cello with David Butterworth on steady piano. The tranquil final movement featured David Butterworth again, with Richard Webster on violin. The audience were silent for a while, taking it in, before applauding loudly.
The second half featured more familiar classical music. Antony Brannick on piano gave us an expressive performance of Schumann’s “Waldscenen” (OP 82) about the forest. There were a couple of hearty hunting tunes, loud enough to drive the wildlife away, and pieces with varying moods, including the intriguing “Bird as Prophet”. Finally we had David Butterworth, Will Mace and Richard Webster back again for Haydn’s formal but cheerful piano trio in G major (Hob. XV:25).