Webern: Langsamer Satz
Colin Matthews: String Quartet No. 5 (European premiere)
Beethoven: String Quartet in D major, Op. 18 No. 3
Apollon Musagète Quartet
Reviewed: 20 July, 2020
Former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists the Apollon Musagète Quartet present the European premiere of the Fifth String Quartet by one of Britain’s foremost living composers, Colin Matthews. Commissioned for the 75th anniversary of the Tanglewood Festival in 2015, the piece remains the last work Matthews has written in the medium.
Bookending the Quartet are Webern’s youthful Langsamer Satz – an ecstatic piece that showcases the composer’s formal skill within a lyrical idiom – and Beethoven’s String Quartet Op. 18 No. 3. Of Beethoven’s six Op. 18 quartets, No. 3 is both the lightest and the hardest to pin down: the scherzo is fleeting, and even the framing movements have an unusual delicacy and wistfulness about them.