Beaux Arts Trio - Wigmore Hall, 19 November 2007
Beethoven Variations in G Op. 121a 'Ich bin der Schneider Kakadu'
Beethoven Piano Trio in B flat Op. 97 'Archduke'
The Beaux Arts Trio, here in their last-ever London concert, could teach certain ex-prime ministers and football managers a thing or two about quitting while you're ahead. 84 and still going strong, pianist and co-founder Menahem Pressler was the unassuming backseat driver, while his younger colleagues provided the musical fireworks.
There was an almost desperate exuberance to their performance, unrefined but full of the joy of music making. As ever, one could only be astonished by Beethoven's ingenuity in knitting rainbows from the slenderest of thematic material. The first of their two encores was Shostakovich's flamboyant tribute to Jewish folk music, the second movement of his Trio No 2, which they propelled along explosively. Only in their second encore, the adagio from Beethoven's Op 11 Trio, came pause for reflection.
This was some way from the most polished performance the Beaux Arts have ever given, but it had to be one of the most enjoyable, and the standing ovation the Wigmore audience gave them (the rarest of treats for any performer here) recognised this as well as the many years of musical service they've given.
Live-recorded, and available for re-examination via the magic of the BBC Listen Again here.