Tuesday, 7 July 2009

The Borodin sound

A legend in its field, the Borodin String Quartet has been playing to a packed Pittville Pump Room this evening. The Quartet's formation during the latter years of World War II coincided with our first Cheltenham Music Festival. The present four are inheritors of a great tradition: you could tell it - even from the back of the hall - from their first appearance. But the playing too was distinctive: a sedate, oddly humourless Haydn ("the Bird"), monumental early Beethoven (Op 18(1): what a first movement that has!), and some memorable Shostakovich - if that's your bag: I'm afraid it's not mine, at least when it comes to Quartet no 3. Perhaps it was the glass of wine I had in the interval.

Coming home towards 10 p.m., after all the rain we had a still-bright sky behind us and steely greyness ahead. The white terraced fronts of All Saints Road took on a spooky look: Alfred Hitchcock would have loved it.

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