Immaculate moments

Doric Quartet. Jubilee Hall. Aldeburgh. January 22/29th The Doric Quartet is now in its twelfth season - quite a long time in the hard world of chamber music, and proof that this ensemble has what it takes to make the grade.

Doric Quartet. Jubilee Hall. Aldeburgh. January 22/29th

The Doric Quartet is now in its twelfth season - quite a long time in the hard world of chamber music, and proof that this ensemble has what it takes to make the grade. Permitted the luxury of two appearances at these lunchtime recitals allowed them to feature one of the two quartets of Korngold, both of which they have recently recorded, in each programme.

Born in Austria in 1897, Erich Korngold was a remarkable child prodigy, then rapidly making a reputation as an opera composer, though after decamping to Hollywood in 1934, it was through his film scores that he achieved his greatest fame.

The first of his two string quartets teems with ideas, with adventurous writing for all four instruments, yet, despite immaculate preparation and the best efforts of the Doric, it failed to make much of an impression. More disappointing, it followed a reading of Beethoven's Op.18 No.4 C minor quartet which, while technically fluent, was marred by some ultra fast tempi, which in the first movement destroyed rather than enhanced the music's dramatic impact, and deprived the andante scherzoso of all its wit and charm.


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However in their second recital the Doric really showed their mettle, with a polished account of Haydn's Op. 50 No.1, the "joke" false ending fooling the audience completely, as it always does, creating much good humour, and a superb reading of Korngold's second quartet, Op.26 No.2. Post modern, though it doesn't fit conveniently into any slot, yet it is immediately attractive, full of invention, and the Doric played it immaculately.

Frank Cliff.

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