Contempo String Quartet

King's Lynn Festival: King's Lynn Town Hall

The first Coffee Concert of this year's festival was given in the town hall yesterday by artists-in-residence Contempo String Quartet.

Formed in 1995 in Bucharest they have given more than 350 concerts worldwide.

The concert opened with Mozart's string quartet in D major, written at the height of his creative powers. If I may crib from programme notes, "the work has an air of despondency beneath its surface glitter". Throughout, there is a plethora of melodies and the quartet played with great power, producing a gorgeous tone throughout and absolute unanimity of ensemble.

Schumann's string quartet in A major contrasts with Mozart, lacking that composer's lightness of touch but with much vigorous playing demanded particularly from the cello in the second movement, before being passed on to other instruments. The third movement was deeply moving.

The artists were rewarded with an ovation from the capacity audience to which they responded with a Romanian piece by Paulo Constantinescu as an encore.

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