Lindsay String Quartet

FRANK CLIFF John Innes Centre, Norwich


> John Innes Centre, Norwich

It is difficult to remember chamber music without the Lindsay, but, after some 40 years they have decided to disband and this vintage programme of Tippett, Haydn and Beethoven marked their final appearance in Norwich.

It was an evening of glorious music making, if not without incident. A minute or so into Haydn Opus 76, No 5, second violin Ronald Birks broke a string. Some humorous anecdotes from the leader Peter Cropper while he replaced it created a very relaxed atmosphere before an elegant reading of Haydn, but most notably for a deeply sensitive performance of the great central slow movement.

The Lindsay have long championed the music of Tippett, having recorded the complete quartets, the last of which they commissioned. Their performance of the third quartet showed total mastery of its technical difficulties – three of its five movements have highly complex fugal writing – and with a supremely sensitive playing of the Andante.

Beethoven's Opus 135 was the perfect work with which to end. The slow movement – as this was an evening of magnificently played slow movements – sounded like a poignant farewell. The Lindsay's performances have always had a vitality and spontaneity which captured the essence of the music. They go at the height of their powers and will be sorely missed.