Navarra Quartet

FRANK CLIFF The Cut, Halesworth

FRANK CLIFF

The Cut, Halesworth

By virtue of its fine acoustics and its size - just 220 seats - the Cut is an excellent venue for chamber music.

Certainly, a lunchtime series of quartet concerts has developed a following, and the hall was well filled for this recital by the Navarra Quartet.

The Navarra made a great impression last year at their Aldeburgh residency - something which they are currently repeating - and, listening to them once again, their playing seemed to be even better.

They began with Haydn, Opus 76 No. 1, and brought to it a highly individual approach. This was Haydn on a grand scale, with a first movement which emphasised the music's dramatic contrast; and adagio whose opening theme, played with sparing vibrato, sounded magical.

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They attacked the presto of the minuet with tremendous vigour. First violin Xander Van Vliet was generous almost, but not quite, to a fault, with his rubato in the ländler-like trio, and their dramatic playing in the finale had an almost Beethovian quality.

The Beethoven quartets had a strong influence in Mendelssohn and there is plenty of dramatic, passionate writing in this youthful A minor quartet, as well as much elegant music besides.

All these qualities were evident in the Navarra's reading. The beautiful slow movement was especially fine, and these two works really showed the potential of this excellent quartet.

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