Endellion String Quartet

MICHAEL DRAKE St Peter Mancroft, Norwich (Norfolk and Norwich Festival)


St Peter Mancroft, Norwich (Norfolk and Norwich Festival)

The first of six concerts by this masterly group heralded the performance of all Beethoven's string quartets during the next fortnight.

And what a start, as the first “Razumovsky” Quartet in F opened the series with a tension from the first bars and as the cello melody unfolded, intense but not dominating the other instruments, flitted sometimes delicately, sometimes more forcibly around it.

The second movement was almost too much fun for Beethoven, but the Endellion enjoyed its relative joviality before what programme notes called a “sad” adagio.

It was not with melancholy and after a more reflective interlude the finale then emphasised there are times in the composer's music when he does not seem to want it to end. Its brilliant execution was one such example.

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The later Quartet in B flat Op. 130, to an extent, allowed a pensive sadness also - but this time broken with chattering interjections. After a short, ebullient section, nowhere was the almost telepathic musicianship of the Endellion shown more than in the third movement after which they trod gently for the cavatina with extraordinary musical colouring to conclude a concert as near perfection as such an ensemble can get.

This was rewarded by foot stamping and cheering acclaim by the large audience.