Nicholas Yonge Society

  International Chamber Music in Lewes

23rd February 2018

Haydn String Quartet Op. 33 No. 2
Sabin Pautza String Quartet No. 4, Ludus Modalis
Bartók String Quartet No. 2

Arcadia Quartet in performance 

This young, attractive Romanian quartet’s return to Lewes gave as much pleasure as their first visit. We benefited from their increased authority and ability to convey their own pleasure in the hugely varying styles of the three works.

With the Haydn, the so-called ‘Joke’ quartet, there was a delicious lightness, a felicitous use of the novelty portamento and enjoyment of the jokey false ending.

The Pautza quartet was new to us but the audience soon relaxed because the composer used characteristic means and modes of Romanian folk song and dance, adding to his ‘Modal Game’ the micro-theme of a play on the name of Bach.

The movements of Bartok’s 2nd quartet flow from ‘peaceful life - joy - suffering’, in other words, from beautiful sounds to bacchanalian strumming to the hopelessness engendered by the time in which it was written: during World War I. The tension and despair were made manifest by the players and forbade any sort of encore.

Reviewer: Janet Lovegrove
Photographer: David James