Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Tune! The Takacs Quartet, Sunday 3rd May 2009 , Brighton Festival

To play a Haydn string quartet followed by one by Bartok just five minutes later, requires the kind of technique over which many string quartets will stumble, but the fall might be a valiant one all the same.  The fact that the Takacs played the Bartok C major no 4 - a quartet that requires a tonal understanding at odds (ie.chromaticism) with regular modalities and technical prowess (the central movement is played pizzicato through the full range of dynamics) with greater ease and facility than the classical Haydn (his late F Major op 77 from 1799) is credit to their phenomenal skill and the fact that the quartet has been going since 1975 (albeit with several team changes and one death). 

TheTakacs may now be an international band of musicians, yet the Hungarian folk/classical tradition is embodied by them. The Bartok here was as fresh as a first performance might be imagined in 1927. 

If this quartet were a team of TV chefs - they'd have made a passable light sponge followed by an exemplary and technically advanced souffle  full of exotic and delicious stuff.

Unfortunately, I had a train to catch and missed the second half performance of Schumann's String Quartet in A major Op. 41 No. 3. What a pity as the Takacs are part of the worthy forces pushing Schumann's chamber music back into the spotlight after his glory days in the late nineteenth century where his chamber music was seen as an early herald towards Brahms.

Haydn String Quartet in F major Op. 77 No. 2
Bartok String Quartet in C major, No. 4
Schumann , String Quartet in A major Op. 41 No. 3 (missed)

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