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Haydn, Schubert & Shostakovich

Joseph Haydn- String Quartet in C Op. 20 No.2
Dmitri Shostakovich- String Quartet No. 14 in F sharp Op. 142
Franz Schubert- String Quintet in C D956

Belcea Quartet and Valentin Erben
Wigmore Hall, 10th December 2009

The Belcea Quartet's playing somehow manages to be both very elemental and refined and makes a direct communication with the listener.

Their Haydn was light and elegant without being forced or feeling too constrained; some of the best classical playing I have heard. All the players have singing tones which suited this joyful music perfectly.

Both Shostakovich’s No. 14 and Schubert’s String Quintet in C came from the last years of their composers’ lives; mature works which demand depth in their interpretation. This also made for pleasurable listening in Schubert’s quintet where the instruments pair up to play lyrical duets. Here the sense of ensemble was fantastic and it was lovely to watch such a high level of communication between the performers throughout the performance. The bloodcurdling call from the viola at the opening of the Shostakovitch had the audience riveted and the Schubert's Scherzo was delivered in rustic style with carefree abandon; a truly moving performance.

Sample their Schubert CD on EMI classics.

Anna Michel