Amarins Wierdsma and Tim Crawford - violins
Christoph Slenczka - viola
Yoanna Prodanova - cello
|HAYDN||String Quartet Op.20, No.4|
|JANÁÇEK||String Quartet No.1, 'Kreutzer Sonata'|
|SCHUBERT||String Quartet No.14 in D minor, 'Death and the Maiden'|
INTENSE BUT REWARDING CONCERT FOR SKIPTON MUSIC
Skipton Music's 2019-20 season continued with a fine and intense concert by the young London-based Barbican Quartet. The concert opened with one of the finest of Haydn's early quartets, played with finesse and exuberance; I particularly enjoyed the hushed opening of the first movement, the deceptively simple first phrase from which the whole movement subsequently erupts. This was followed by Leos Janaček's highly intense and personal quartet no 1. It was perhaps a brave choice to bring this relatively unfamiliar work to a provincial audience; but the Barbican Quartet's performance will surely have made many converts, with all the varied emotions of this extraordinary work brought out with razor-edge precision.
For the second half the quartet turned to a more familiar - but no less intense - piece, Schubert's "Death and the maiden" quartet. This was again quartet playing of the highest quality, with relentless drive in the faster sections, elegance and grace in the few moments of relaxation. I do however wonder about the wisdom of including two such intense pieces in a single concert; your reviewer felt rather battered by the end of the Schubert, so that the choice of encore - the gentle slow movement of Mendelssohn's E minor quartet, played with warmth of tone and beauty of phrasing - was doubly welcome. We will surely hear much more of this highly talented group of players.