REVIEW: Van Kuijk String Quartet, Portsmouth Guildhall

The Van Kuijk Quarter

The talented Van Kuijk String Quartet gave the latest concert in the Portsmouth Chamber Music series before a packed audience at the Guildhall.

Their programme began with Mendelssohn’s E minor Quartet.

The best of this composer can be found in the chamber music and the quality of the playing was such that every detail was granted in the context of a well-structured performance.

To mention just one among many highlights: the rhythmic accuracy and control of bowing in the fairy music of the scherzo was wonderfully done.

Janacek’s musical style could hardly be more different, so his First String Quartet, written at the age of 70, posed different challenges for performers and listeners.

The bold contrasts between pathos and powerful outbursts, the use of new techniques for expressing intense feelings, all made their mark.

The composer’s strikingly individual personality came though very strongly in this memorable interpretation.

The Quartet of Maurice Ravel completed this enterprising programme, its more lyrical style the perfect foil to the preceding music.

Here the precise rhythms of the pizzicato in the Scherzo stood out strongly, but even more apparent was the excellent control of dynamic shadings, to achieve the reward of a particularly refined expressiveness.

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