With a composer as prolific as Schubert, there is much material to choose from when planning a weekend-long series of concerts devoted to showcasing his works.
However, the impulse to unearth and explore was tempered by two very familiar works on this particular evening, his second piano trio and the Trout quintet.
The allegro of the E flat major trio was surefooted with plenty of dynamic contrast. Of note was the ease with which Tim Horton handled the tricky accompaniment in the piano without distracting from the theme in the strings.
Similarly, with the andante con moto. Once again, keen attention to dynamics assured the success of the movement, because Schubert never lets it truly settle. The climaxes of the movement are momentary and soon retreat to the hushed uncertainty of the opening.
A cheery scherzo provided the necessary respite before the devilish finale for which the players had clearly stored up some energy as it featured blistering playing from all.
I think the Ensemble warmed to the Trout Quintet, an altogether lighter affair in terms of mood, gradually. The allegro vivace was brisk and bright but a bit too anecdotal. The andante featured some lovely playing from the cello and viola, always lyrical when called upon.
My favourite movement of the evening was the penultimate theme and variations. It really is a feature for the violin with the piercing trills and lightning-fast runs in the highest register of the instrument all scintillatingly executed by Benjamin Nabarro.
With the players in full swing for the finale, even a mistimed round of applause before the piece had actually finished did not deter them!