Instinctive rapport in slow movements

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Brodowski Quartet

The Spring Arts Centre, Havant

Given a front-row seat, I found it difficult to gain a perspective on the Brodowskis’ performance of Haydn’s final completed string quartet, Op 77 No 2.

Suffice to say that despite the high energy levels elsewhere, what emerged most clearly was the players’ seemingly instinctive rapport in the slow movement’s variations, with individual lines weaving in and out with an apparent naturalness that can only be born of close partnership.

For Tchaikovsky’s final chamber work, Souvenir de Florence, where the standard quartet is augmented by a second viola and cello, I was able to move to the back of the auditorium and more easily appreciate the blend as well as the contrasting sonorities.

The vigour of the playing was not achieved at the expense of any expressive subtlety, with nothing all evening surpassing the romantic main melody of the ’singing’ slow movement and its pizzicato accompaniment.

The third movement, clearly more Russian than Italian in inspiration, had both intensity and delicacy. Then, in the finale, leader David Brodowski was equalled by cellist Reinoud Ford for dazzling skills.

Well done, Terry Barfoot, for promoting as well as introducing this event.