Tag Archives: Béla Bartók

Review: Nightingale String Quartet, @wigmore_hall

This was the last in the ECMA series of concerts at Wigmore Hall and was probably the best. This young Danish Quartet are very impressive. I went because I can never resist Bartók’s string quartets and the concert started with is second quartet. It was enjoyable but it does not reach the levels of greatness that his later quartets reached. The surprise for me was the second piece, Beethoven’s String Quartet In E Minor, Op. 59 No. 2 ‘Razumovsky’. I knew Beethoven’s late quartets were wonderful but I have never heard one of these earlier quartets sounding so good before. For a relatively young quartet that is a major achievement and they certainly deserved the resounding ovation we gave them and gave us in return an encore of the second movement from Rued Langgaard’s Third Quartet.Short and sweet, it was a fun way to end a lovely concert.

Review: Cuarteto Casals, Wigmore Hall

The draw for me was the Bartók’s quartet but the lunchtime concert started with Haydn’s very pleasant String Quartet in C Op. 33 No. 3 “The Bird,” presumably chosen for its Hungarian feel. This was followed by György Kurtág’s Hommage à Mihály András (12 microludes) Op. 13 with which I was not familiar. As the title suggests, it is made up of 12 very short movements, each between 16 seconds and two minutes long. As a result, I could barely get into one movement before it was gone – I’d have to listen again to judge it. The climax of the concert was Béla Bartók’s String Quartet No. 4, one of the greatest 20th Century works, brilliantly played and absolutely wonderful. After much well deserved applause from those who were not rushing back to work, they gave an encore of a delightful polonaise from a Mozart quartet.

You can hear the concert (apart from the encore) from BBC Radio 3 on the BBC iPlayer. Sadly, the picture of the quartet was not taken at the beautiful Wigmore Hall, though.