1:05pm Sunday 4th November 2012
By Mike Marsh
SOMETHING out of the ordinary marked the 400th concert in the 69th year of the BCMS; a string quartet emulating the sounds and performance layout of the late 18th century, albeit under the shade of an electric lamp stand!
The renowned Salomon String Quartet’s approach revealed some of the difficulties maintaining pitch with regular re-tunings between movements, adding necessary authenticity to the atmosphere.
Haydn’s Quartet in F sharp minor, op50/4 set the aural scene with a mellowness of tone conveying the intimate nature of chamber music some 200 years ago. The players; Simon Standage and Catherine Martin, violins, Adam Romer, viola and Andrew Skidmore, cello, gave the harmonies and unison passages a special resonance.
Reminiscent of a hunting call, the opening Allegro from Mozart’s Quartet in B flat, K458 thereby gained the epithet ‘Hunt’. The minuet’s grace and lively trio were charming and in stark contrast to the aching Adagio where the Salomon Quartet sensitively explored its depths. Whatever the huntsmen’s quarry was, the finale seemed to evoke a cheery, chattering return.
Count Rasumovsky was the dedicatee of a series of Beethoven quartets and with No8 in E minor, op59/2, the Salomon’s players clearly found the sinewy intensity of the allegro, punctuated by dramatic pauses. The Adagio’s mood was breathtakingly hushed and lyrically intense with the following, rhythmically diverse, Russian-flavoured Allegretto riding towards a finale that took the speeding-horse as its pulse.
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