Fine playing launches winter season
Solstice Quartet, Jubilee Hall, Aldeburgh, January 8. The annual winter Aldeburgh Lunchtime Recital series began last Friday, not, as I prophesied, in the new Britten Studio at Snape, but, once again, in the Jubilee Hall, though with a new starting time of 12.
Solstice Quartet, Jubilee Hall, Aldeburgh, January 8.
The annual winter Aldeburgh Lunchtime Recital series began last Friday, not, as I prophesied, in the new Britten Studio at Snape, but, once again, in the Jubilee Hall, though with a new starting time of 12.15pm, instead of the time-honoured 1pm. The bitter weather was undoubtedly responsible for a hall scarce half full, though this didn't prevent a warm reception for the Solstice Quartet's programme of Barber and Bartok.
Precise, well-balanced playing was the hallmark of their reading of Samuel Barber's Quartet; the only one he wrote. The slow movement is, of course, the famous adagio, which in the string orchestra version has somewhat overshadowed the original, yet the Solstice's elegant reading , and especially the manner in which they built up the great central climax, showed just how effective the original can be.
The second work, Bartok's 5th Quartet showed what they are really made of. This was a really powerful performance, with all the required virtuosity and fire, together with a fine grasp of the overall structure.
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Just occasionally it seemed a touch relentless, but overall very fine.
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