23rd November 2018
|Haydn||String Quartet Op 64 No 2|
|Erwin Schulhoff||String Quartet No. 2|
|Dvořák||String Quartet Op 96 ('American')|
Formed in 1976, much was expected from musicians who have played together for so long and much was duly delivered to a packed and enthusiastic Lewes audience. Starting with one of Haydn’s less-known quartets, Opus 64, no 2 in B Minor, the quartet played with the utmost clarity, with each musician perfectly heard yet still blending in with the others. This was a classical rather than a romantic interpretation, with the leader Lubimor Havlak setting the tone with razor-sharp playing.
There followed Schulhoff’s second String Quartet number 2, not known to most in the audience but a welcome newcomer. Dark rhythms scurried in the background, answered by individual instruments coming back with their own plangent tunes. A wild dance brought this urgent piece to its close, from a composer who clearly had so much more to contribute before his life was cruelly terminated in a German concentration camp.
The second half was given over to Dvorak’s ever-popular American Quartet, Opus 96. Once again moments in this beautiful piece came over as if newly-minted, the whole piece culminating in the irresistibly toe-tapping last movement. The generous applause that followed was enough to earn an encore, in this case a charmingly atmospheric waltz again by Dvorak, bringing the evening to a memorable end.
Reviewer: Nicholas Tucker
Photographer: David James