Written towards the end of the composer's life, this pair of viola sonatas, which share an opus number, display the solo capabilities of an instrument often over-shadowed by its cousins the violin and 'cello.
Violist Feargus Hetherington's thoughtful and intelligent interpretation of Brahms's evocative and atmospheric pieces displayed his exquisitely virtuosic technique and shrewd musical artistry.
The first of these works, the Sonata in F minor, exuded a passionate tenderness, with vibrant, cascading melodies in the viola part swooping and soaring above pianist Benjamin Powell's ebullient accompaniment. The duo carried the listener through a spectrum of soundscapes in Brahms' vivid score, from dark and sonorous to delicate, tender and elegant, at times lending an ethereal quality to the music.
Following on with the second in this set, Sonata in Eb major, Hetherington and Powells played with a fiery drive, never for a second losing momentum, especially in the exciting and gripping second movement, Allegro Apassionato.
With a heated intensity which was spirited and wild yet graceful and dignified, this hugely accomplished duo complemented each other marvellously as together they illustrated the light and shade and huge range of emotion in both these works.