It is a great honour for me to be appointed as the new President of the Oxford Chamber Music Society. Founded as the Oxford Ladies’ Musical Society in 1898 and changing to its current name in 1968, the Society has enjoyed a long and distinguished history of promoting chamber music of the highest standard. In early years, Sir Donald Tovey and Ernest Walker played for the society, as did the violinist Adolph Busch, the violist Lionel Tertis, the clarinetist Charles Draper, the oboist Léon Goossens, pianists Solomon and Myra Hess, the Hungarian, Brosa, Griller, Busch and Budapest String Quartets as well as Peter Pears and Benjamin Britten.
The Society was for many years hosted by the renowned Deneke sisters, Marga and Lena, at Gunfield in Norham Gardens. There are many musicians who will still remember playing there. But since 1969, OCMS concerts moved first to the Maison Francaise and then to the Holywell Music Room. Countless great chamber ensembles have performed for the Society and it is heartwarming to see this tradition continuing to this day.
With this in mind, I was delighted to be able to attend the first concert of the season at the Holywell Music Room on Sunday 3 November. The Pavel Haas Quartet gave outstanding performances of Beethoven’s third Razumovsky Quartet, Op 59 No 3 and Tchaikovsky’s String Quartet No 3, Op 30. To hear such great playing in the intimate acoustic of Holywell was a real treat. Let’s hope the quartet will return to OCMS soon!
I look forward to the next concert on Sunday 1 December, when my dear friend Nicholas Daniel will be joined by his colleagues in the Britten Oboe Quartet. Don’t miss it!
Pavel Haas Quartet