Quartet of pure artistry

PUBLISHED: 11:12 23 April 2001 | UPDATED: 15:04 22 October 2010

Chilingirian Quarter @ Walsingham

Chilingirian Quarter @ Walsingham


Fears for the safety of the Holkham deer made it essential that the latest Arts in North Norfolk (SPANN) promotion moved from its usual venue on Saturday evening.

If the Chapel of Reconciliation lacks the opulent immediacy of Holkham Hall, the first work proved admirably suitable for the more sharp-edged surroundings. One knows the Chilingirian will be first class but that makes their performances no less interesting and the first performance in Norfolk of a completed version of Grieg's Quartet in F prepared by the CQ leader Levon Chilingirian, alternated intensity and lyricism in the opening and after a tightly-rhythmic second movement the new second half of the Quartet appeared more introspective whilst continuing with strong chording and tunefulness until a Finale in much more minor, yet still joyful mode.

Minor too is Mozart in D and the Quartet K421. Almost sombre in the opening Allegro, the Chilingirian were at their best – a totally integrated quartet of beauteous tone and precision as there followed a minuet enough to melt the listener and put all troubles to rights – the whole world should have to listen to it and settle their arguments.

Finally, the celebrated Quartet, giving an early Slavonic meander, sometimes in elegiac ballads, sometimes in fast moving dances, always held the interest in Dvorak's String Quartet in E flat major. And in a lively finale with every part clearly focused, the CQ's sparkling compatibility was never more evident. I've said it before but it bears repeating – with the Chilingirian one gets pure artistry.

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