BUDE Music Society (BMS) welcomed back the renowned Dante Quartet for its final concert of the 70th anniversary season in St Martin’s Church, writes David Robinson.
The quartet has recently returned from a concert tour in Japan and is shortly to plat all the Beethoven Quartets in a special series of concerts in the Dante Summer Festival in the Tamar Valley, which attracts audiences from all over the UK.
One was immediately impressed by the lovely wealth and uniformity of tone from these brilliant musicians playing on beautiful instruments. It was also so pleasing to note the responsive way the players reacted to each other during the performances; ensemble, articulation, rhythm, dynamics and bowings all moved together _ something which one does not appreciate from recordings.
An expressive phrase from one player produced a smile from colleagues and gestures of ‘thanks and appreciation’ seemed to pass from instrument to instrument. This was quartet playing at its very best.
The programme was varied, with Quartets by Haydn, (the Joke), Beethoven, the formidable Opus 130 in B flat and Bartok’s equally difficult and challenging 4th Quartet; not a programme for the ‘faint hearted’. Despite the technical difficulties, all the movements were shaped musically in the Haydn, with solos passed from instrument to instrument with consummate ease; details of balance and tempi were nicely judged, especially at the famous ending, with players and audience wondering when and how the quartet would actually end!
The performance of Bartok’s 4th Quartet was incredible at times, with mesmerising glissandi, pizzicati, and slap pizzicati. The dissonant harmonies seemed to produce the ‘very best’ from the ensemble, which took the rhythmical difficulties ‘in its stride’.
In some ways this was the Dante Quartet at its very best — reminding everyone of the Britten Violin Sonata in the previous concert at Minstrels Music Centre in February. Beethoven’s Opus 130 was the final work in the concert and perhaps the most demanding for the Quartet and the audience alike. The opening Adagio contained many brilliant changes of mood, nuance and dynamics and later movements showed the individual qualities of all members of the ensemble, especially those of the leader who graciously gave encouraging smiles of thanks and admiration of her colleague’s artistry. The Dvorak encore was also graciously received and admired by the large, appreciative audience — with ‘standing room only’.
This has been a remarkable 70th anniversary season and we are so lucky to have a Music Society, which has the courage and ambition to invite such distinguished musicians to North Cornwall. ‘Thank you’ BMS.