Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Carducci Quartet

My enthusiasm for this still-young quartet (led by Matthew Denton) has been voiced before, and it's none the less intense following this evening's performance at Dean Close School, where they have been "in residence" since the beginning of the year. Drab decor and distracting piles of scores in the background of the Prince Michael Hall couldn't take away from a vibrant performance - of what was a challenging programme.

It began with a quartet by Philip Glass: it had been described, Matthew said, as Rock music for Buddhists. The opening movement of this, his 4th Quartet rocked, but more in the sense of a lullaby - as if Bach might have been looking over the composer's shoulder. The real rock music came after the interval, with the Allegretto furioso of Shostakovich's 10th Quartet.

In between, we heard a couple of minimalist jewels (Kurtág and Webern), and a surprisingly enjoyable work, inspired by Australian birdsong, by David Matthews: he was there to introduce it himself, whistling us a preview of each of the motifs. I liked the idea of the Australian cuckoo singing the same interval as ours, but upside down. And particularly appropriate to hear this piece at a time of year when our garden is more or less a song-free zone.

Leopold/Wolfgang, Fanny/Felix, and Colin/David. I can't think of many other musical family pairs apart from these three Ms, Mozart, Mendelssohn - and Matthews.

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