The eye-catcher on the programme for the season’s opening Portsmouth Chamber Music concert was The Four Quarters by Thomas Ades, premiered in 2011.
And it proved to be quite an ear-tickler too.
A journey from Nightfalls to The 25th Hour (don’t ask), it was all intense concentration, with sonorities and time-signatures ranging from bizarre to near-brutal, but tackled fearlessly by the Doric Quartet.
Some effects were striking in a performance of intense concentration, including the final ‘stillness of a D-major chord so beautiful it just has to be repeated’, according to the programme notes.
The performance that will live longest in my memory was of Schumann’s String Quartet No 1.
This music seems to grow in stature as performers more readily unleash its latent passion.
The viola set the standard in the adagio, leading to a winding-down that was nothing short of sublime, and all four players shone in releasing the finale’s rhythmic energy.