MEMBERS of Hexham Music Society and well over 50 other music lovers gathered in the auditorium at the Queen's Hall in Hexham to hear clarinettist Thomas Verity perform with Hexham-raised pianist Simon Passmore.

The pair, who have been performing together as a duo for six years, showcased some classic works from the clarinet repertoire, such as the grand duo concertant by Weber, John Ireland’s fantasy sonata and the five dance preludes by Lutoslawski.

Schumann’s three romances, originally written for oboe as a Christmas present to his wife, allowed us to enjoy some wonderful lyrical playing just before the interval.

This was contrasted by some contemporary pieces written for the clarinet that they were keen to share. The tributes (1-3) by Edward Gregson were delightful, each one a tribute to a different composer and dedicated to a clarinettist. A selection of movements from march gave us an insight into the music of composer Simon Parkin, who they both know from studying at the Royal Northern College of Music.

The last movement of this set titled March 6th, a lively and witty fusion of Mozart and Klezmer, raised a smile in the house, as did the pocket-size sonata 1 by Alec Andrew Templeton, a three-movement work combining elements of swing and blues.

This allowed Thomas to show a very different side to his playing (not unlike Benny Goodman) which made a wonderful light-hearted finale.

The next Hexham Music Society concert is on December 15 and is an unaccompanied violin recital by Alina Ibragimova.

Fiona Lander