It was a pleasure to welcome the Dorics back to Richmond. A six year gap emphasised just how the group has developed into the major quartet it is now, and the musicians had the large audience mesmerised. As several listeners commented afterwards, Haydn is often used to provide an 'unchallenging' introduction to a chamber concert - but with their strong, dynamic rendering of his Op. 33 No. 1, the Dorics made it clear from the outset that this was no mere warm-up act.
Britten's String Quartet No. 1 stood in strong contrast, with violist Hélène Clément performing on the composer's own instrument. The group's playing was admirable, and although the work as a whole doesn't really cohere, the movements were individually brilliant and explored a broad palette of moods.
A remarkable evening ended with Schubert's great Death and the Maiden quartet. The audience was rapt, the applause rapturous - and the number of people queuing afterwards to upgrade their single tickets to Season Tickets bodes well for this new season.
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