Endellion String Quartet

CHRISTOPHER SMITH St Peter Mancroft, Norwich (Norfolk and Norwich Festival)


St Peter Mancroft, Norwich (Norfolk and Norwich Festival)

Variety has rightly been the watchword of the festival but over the past three weekends, St Peter Mancroft, the historic host of so much local music making, has welcomed the Endellion String Quartet on its epic journey through all Beethoven's compositions.

The final concert in the series was all the better because the programme was cleverly devised to give an idea of how the composer developed over more than a quarter of a century.

Bright, elegant, with clear patterning, the Opus 18 No. 2 quartet looked back to the 18th century. The slow movement in particular had the gentle, unhurried serenity associated with the courtly culture of the day. That idyll was soon to be rudely shaken, and the Opus 95 quartet, “Serioso”, was the expression of more troubled times. Beethoven wrote his Opus 130 quartet towards the end of his career, reflecting both his tempestuous personality and his passions for working his themes through to utmost extent. That tendency was ever more evident in the Grand Fugue.

The four players performed with style, commitment and apparently inexhaustible energy. An appreciative audience responded with a great wave of applause.

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