Naomi and Fali Pavri with Yann Ghiro

The Strathearn Music Society last welcomed cello and piano team Naomi and Fali Pavri just over two years ago, and the final two words of the concert review on that occasion were “big sigh…” Bliss, rather than relief, was naturally the implied emotion then, and to have not only a return visit so soon after but also the added bonus of clarinettist Yann Ghiro was clearly an enticing prospect for last Wednesday’s audience in St Andrew’s Hall. Impossible, of course, to up the quality of such playing by 50% but, in the event, the increase in pure zest and extra personality as well as the programming potential created by expanding the group to three made for another perfect session of music-making. 

The infectious enjoyment of the players was evident from the start as they (barely) controlled their enthusiasm for introducing (by whistling together) the theme from which Beethoven’s “Gassenhauer” Trio earns its nickname – a tune so memorable and attractive that everyone would whistle it as they went about Vienna’s lanes (“Gassen”) – and the fun extended right up to the very last note of their performance. Wit and humour too in Poulenc’s Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, with that biting and edgy element so characteristic of the composer mingling with his trademark heart-on-sleeve sentimentality. Once you’ve started to think of Charlie Chaplin here it really is quite difficult to get him out of your mind, but John Mayer’s Prabhanda for cello and piano, which followed, certainly provided the total culture shift required. Previously presented by the Pavris on 2015, this is a piece decidedly worthy of a second hearing (and more), with its intriguing fusion of styles convincingly conveying the moods and manners of Mayer’s native India. 

Debussy’s First Rhapsody for Clarinet and Piano and Brahms’ Clarinet Trio in A minor made up the second half of the concert. Substantial fare indeed, and both pieces given the serious attention of this seriously gifted group, who seem to play as if connected by an invisible thread. The abiding impression running throughout this whole evening was of the sheer joy of chamber music. How lucky these folk are to be able to work together on such wonderful repertoire, and how lucky their listeners to enjoy the fruits of their labour. Once again reverting to and quoting a message from a previous review: “SMS is your local treasure; please go to http://www.strathearnmusicsociety.btck.co.uk/ and feel lucky.”

Howard Duthie