The talented Goldmund Quartet from Germany gave the opening concert in the new Portsmouth Chamber Music series, before a packed audience at the Portsmouth Guildhall.
They began with Haydn’s D Major Quartet, Opus 76 No5. Hayden is undoubtedly a favoured composer in quartet concerts, with so many wonderful compositions to choose from. This was a well-structured performance, and the rhythmic accuracy and the control of bowing in the lively finale was brilliantly done.
Shostakovich’s musical style could hardly be more different – his Third String Quartet, written towards the end of The Great Patriotic War, posed different challenges for both performers and listeners. The music ranged widely; sometimes jaunty and ironic, sometimes restless and energetic, sometimes austere, while concluding typically in an ambiguous postlude. The composer’s strikingly individual personality came though very strongly in this memorable interpretation.
The final music on the programme was Beethoven’s Second Razumovsky Quartet, whose power and intellectual demands proved the perfect foil to the preceding music. The dynamic shadings proved most effective, bringing the reward of a particularly refined expressiveness in the sublime slow movement.
After this challenging music it made sense to lower the voltage with an extract from Haydn’s very first Quartet as the encore.