Mozart Piano Quartet in E Flat, K 493
Britten String Quartet No. 3
Mozart String Quartet in B Flat, K458
For many, the most rewarding aspect of chamber music recitals is the intimate knowledge gained of performers as much as with the music.
The perennially sold out programme at London’s Wigmore Hall is testament to that, and also to the fact that small scale performance is usually far superior to the orchestral kind.
It’s from the Wigmore Hall in fact that the Belcea String Quartet come, as its recent ensemble in residence.
And its Belfast audiences who will now want to form a relationship with the quartet after the riveting concert that closed the BMS International Festival.
The Belcea is a seriously elegant outfit. Playing with pianist Imogen Cooper at the start of the programme with Mozart’s Piano Quartet in F and at the end with the String Quartet in B flat (The Hunt) the players shone a light into the workings of the music as line, counterpoint, and harmony were writ large and in bold colours.
But this was not the best of it. Having already wowed critics with its recent disc of Benjamin Britten it was inevitable that the great composer’s late Quartet No. 3 would provide the quartet with its most memorable music making on the day.
Memorable and moving, in fact. This was a deep and probing interpretation, courageously conceived and stunningly realised.
It was not only audience members who displayed signs of emotion by the end of the performance. A perfect finale to a rich and engaging 2006 BMS Festival.