A feast for Schumann lovers

Schumann in 1842 (Saturday) @ the John Innes Centre. Reviewer: Frank Cliff.

Schumann in 1842, by the Coull Quartet and James Linsey @ the John Innes Centre, Norwich

By Frank Cliff

It was a brilliant idea of Norfolk & Norwich Music Club to feature all the chamber music which Schumann wrote in 1842, by far the greater part of his output in that genre, in three concerts over this weekend, led by the Coull Quartet.

On Saturday they were joined by pianist James Lisney in a programme of three works: the Fantasiestucke for piano trio, the first string quartet and the piano quartet.

For Schumann lovers it was a feast, with the artists so obviously sympathetic to music of such an individual voice.

Lisney's sound was warm and generous in the Fantasiestucke, a work which more properly belongs to that genre of character pieces of which the composer was so fond, and matched by imaginative playing from Philip Galloway's violin and Nicholas Roberts' cello.

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The Coull performed the A minor quartet with an ear equally sensitive to the subtle colouring and rich textures of the score, and with playing that produced most notably a magical opening andante and an exciting gritty sound in this scherzo.

In the piano quartet, there was excellent balance between strings and piano: vibrant and expressive playing which produced a memorable climax to the evening.

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