The Scharoun Ensemble Berlin, making their Shriver Hall Concert debut yesterday evening, showed us again why we are so lucky to have this chamber music series in Baltimore. They gave us an excellent reading of the Brahms Clarinet Quintet. Then came the Beethoven Septet — and it was one of those performances where you find you are holding your breath! I am sure that their regular first violin, Wolfram Brandl, is a wonderful musician but, for some reason, he was not performing yesterday. Instead, it was the Russian born Alexander Sitkovetsky, who now makes his home in Britain. He was electrifying in that extraordinarily challenging part that Beethoven wrote for the violin — indeed, Beethoven presented challenges for all seven instruments — and part of the fun was watching the other members of the group listening to Sitkovetsky, smiling and nodding in appreciation of his musicianship. Music is unique in the very particular way it can be an uplifting experience and this, as we walked out into the snow flurries, was certainly one of those experiences.
Beethoven, Brahms, chamber music