Castalian Quartet delight Chichester Chamber Concerts audience

Castalian Quartet: pic by Kaupo Kikkas
Castalian Quartet: pic by Kaupo Kikkas

REVIEW BY David Tinsley

Another musical treat from CCC. It is always a pleasure to hear a young quartet of maturity beyond their years honed by recent international concert experience while retaining the freshness and togetherness which captivates audiences. This was amply demonstrated tonight through a well chosen programme which displayed their virtuosity across a variety of classical styles.

First came a crystal clear interpretation of Haydn’s Op76 no5, played with accuracy, togetherness and enjoyment which brought out the variety of sounds and playful tunefulness inherent in Haydn’s compositions. This is a work which can expose technical weaknesses but not with this group of virtuoso performers.

Cellist Christopher Graves gave rich and sonorous support throughout the piece, fully realised in the Trio during which the artists’ enjoyment was matched by the warm audience reception. The final Presto was played with great authority, precision and effect.

The Fauré Op123 is a real test for any quartet. Opened with a strong sound by Charlotte Bonnet on viola, the piece flowed with assurance and clear leadership from first violin Sini Simonen. The group produced an integrated soundscape which was a joy to hear and brought out the full Fauré flavour. It was good to hear the theme pass between the players and how second violin Daniel Roberts gave consistent support to the leading sound line. The Fauré was new to this reviewer who was delighted to be introduced to the piece by such a talented group, especially their interpretation of the complex and extended Andante. It was a thoughtful and rewarding experience for all present.

After the interval, the dramatic opening of the Beethoven E minor Op59 no 2 showed we were in for a real treat. The rich cello, sonorous viola and crisp clarity of the violins all came together to present a great performance of this much loved work.

The whole was a joy to hear and reminded us of the composer’s enduring reputation as a master of the string quartet genre. The wonderful Scherzo showed off the individual talents to perfection as the theme passed from player to player before they came together in an energetic Finale which brought well deserved and extended applause from a well satisfied audience.

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