Review: Heath Quartet.Third Floor Arts Centre, Portsmouth Central Library

Black Star Riders: from left, Scott Gorham, Chad Szeliga, Ricky Warwick,  Robbie Crane and Damon Johnson.  Picture by Richard Stow

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Oliver Heath’s quartet navigated its way through a hugely challenging programme, treating a large audience to an astonishing display of virtuosity.

The chosen quartets by Mozart, Tippett and Mendelssohn are among the more intricate in the repertoire, yet the group played as one instrument, maintaining a consistently tight ensemble. Lively fugal writing is a key feature in all three quartets and with such assured playing this was made more exciting.

Nestling among all this brilliance were many gentle and perfectly-voiced moments including the trio from Mozart’s minuet and the close of the scherzo of Mendelssohn’s E-flat quartet.

Playing of this calibre is fulfilling, and the Third Floor complements it beautifully. The raw sound is warmed yet remains clean.