Solaris String Quartet, Loddon

FRANK CLIFF Quartet in residence at the London College of Music and have played together for four years.


I had not heard the Solaris Quartet before last night's concert and, in what appears to be the festival's current campaign of disinformation, there is nothing to be gleamed from the programme sheet. They are, it transpires, quartet in residence at the London College of Music and have played together for four years.

They chose an ambitious programme with two giants of the repertoire, Mozart's Dissonance Quartet in C major and the third Razumovsky Quartet of Beethoven.

These flanked a totally unfamiliar work, the third Quartet of Victor Ullman, who wrote it while incarcerated in a Nazi concentration camp. It is the only one of the three known to have survived. Its two movements – the first fairly long and structurally episodic, the second a short rondo – one might categorise as post-romantic, but actually the work has a very individual voice and the Solaris played it with great conviction, making the most of the very effective string writing.

It compensated for a less effective performance of the Mozart, with which they began. The sound was flat and uneven in the opening adagio for which they chose a very slow tempo. Enjoyable enough, both this work and the Beethoven lacked real polish although the latter had its moments especially the opening of the final allegro. As yet, the Solaris seem not a truly integrated quartet.

t The Solaris String Quartet were performing at Loddon Church.

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