Review: Hieronymous String Quartet at The Spring Arts Centre, Havant

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Both violinists are new to the Hieronymus line-up, judging by the quartet’s website, but I doubt that anyone would have guessed it in the all-Beethoven programme.

The opening work, the so-called Harp Quartet (Op 74), had tentative moments, as the players seemed to take time to adjust to the acoustics, but even there the first violin showed positive leadership without dominating unduly, and both scherzo and finale flourished.

Here, too, the cellist made special impact, with finely-characterised playing – and his quality and personality were evident throughout the programme, although never at the expense of teamwork.

The first movement of Beethoven’s Op 18 No 6 arguably lacked a touch of skittishness, but the finale’s opening adagio perfectly established the extraordinary mood of ‘malinconia’ demanded by the composer, setting up the jolly ending.

Finally, a late masterpiece, Op 127: here the performance was distinguished by a slow movement that moved organically from the exploratory and other-worldly to dramatic, emotional heights, and by a properly fiery, crowd-pleasing conclusion.

The concert was presented by indefatigable music lecturer Terry Barfoot.