The Piatti Quartet interrupted an extended tour of Ireland and Scotland to re-visit Richmond last Saturday. Today, Monday, after that lengthy diversion, the group is north of the border again, performing on the Isle of Skye.
19 concerts, 23 days away from home... Professional musicians do work hard.
The Piattis opened with a Haydn work (Op. 20, No. 2) which while not the full Sturm und Drang was perhaps more astringent than the famously cheerful composer's more familiar output. A pleasure to listen to. Next came the new work of the evening, Joseph Phibbs's String Quartet No. 1. Audience reaction during the interval was pretty consistent: "Some moments of English pastoral beauty, and some thrilling sections"; "A bit of a Curate's Egg, but essentially good". A success, then.
After the interval came Beethoven's 'late quartet' Op. 130, with the enormous Grosse Fuge finale, longer than all the other five movements together. (Is it a success, or does it unbalance the work? Discuss.) The demands made on the musicians are astonishing, but the Piattis' unflagging energy and skill were admirable, and they still looked fired up after the marathon performance. No encore, understandably, but loud applause from an enthusiastic audience.
Many thanks to the Piatti Quartet. They diverted, and we were enjoyably diverted.
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