String Quartet in E flat, Op.33/2 (Joke)
String Quartet No.11, Op.108 [Commissioned by Proms at St Jude’s with support from Britten-Pears Foundation: world premiere]
Piano Quintet in E flat, Op.44
Carducci String Quartet [Matthew Denton & Michelle Fleming (violins), Eoin Schmidt-Martin (viola) & Emma Denton (cello)]
Nicola Eimer (piano)
Reviewed by: Kenneth Carter
Reviewed: 17 June, 2009
Venue: St-Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London
David Matthews’s String Quartet No.11 comprises thirteen variations on the eighth of Beethoven’s Bagatelles, Opus 119. The first eleven are short and apparently include a tango, mazurka and several scherzos; the twelfth is a long, sustained Cavatina which violins and viola play virtually in unison, undeterred by loud plucked, irregular interjections from the cello; the final variation is an extended fugue. The work as a whole proceeds deliberately from the style of late Beethoven towards Matthews’s own. Come the Cavatina a distinct mind and voice began to speak with arresting, confident sparseness, similarly the fugue.
Schumann’s Piano Quintet received a glorious, vital performance that resonated with tender, resilient strength. The Carducci Quartet and Nicola Eimer found their way unerringly to Schumann’s surging ardour. Emma Denton and Eoin Schmidt-Martin held sway assuredly in the first movement and Schmidt-Martin’s opening to the ‘In modo d’una marcia’ was haunting.