For this, the fourth concert of Newark Music Club’s season on Friday 1st April, an excellent photo and introduction to the Tedesca String Quartet was published in last week’s Newark Advertiser. And the music played was well described in the programme notes.
What is left for a reviewer to do? The answer, of course, lies in the performance itself. It was good to see a large audience in Barnbygate Church. Writing for a string quartet is often regarded as the most demanding form for a classical composer and in this programme we experienced three works that showed the composers at the height of their art.
Haydn’s Op.64 No.6 was the last quartet written for the Esterhazy family before he moved to London, by which time he had written about 60 quartets. Here Haydn gave ample opportunity for the individual instruments to shine in their own right. And so we were able to appreciate from the start the beauty of the sound from the Tedesca both as individuals and in their ensemble.
Borodin was an extraordinary composer as his main profession was as a chemistry teacher, but the quality of his small output is undeniable. The melodies in the second quartet were famously copied for the musical Kismet, and each of the instruments gets a chance to shine with glorious tunes. Particularly outstanding was the tone of Jenny Curtis’ ‘cello. At the interval I asked Jenny about the instrument. It is from an unknown maker in Saxony and is about 300 years old. What is more it has had a new neck fitted at some time!! So students at Newark School of Violin Making take heart!!
After the interval, Brahms. Noted more as a symphonic composer, the programme notes suggested he struggled to “fit” his “sound” into a quartet. I disagree. The Tedesca’s full tones did ample justice to this Romantic period work carrying us through to a powerful climax.
Yes, we did get an encore – most appropriately for the 1st April - the final movement of Haydn’s “Joke” quartet, Op.33 No.2 – the Wikipedia page tells you all….