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Beethoven String Quartet Cycle

String Quartet in Eb Op. 74 ‘harp’
String Quartet in G Op. 18 No. 2
String Quartet in C# minor Op. 131

The Auryn Quartet
Matthias Lingenfelder- Violin
Jens Oppermann- Violin
Stewart Eaton- Viola
Andreas Arndt- Cello

Wigmore Hall, 5th January 2010

The Auryn Quartet takes its name from the magical amulet in Michael Ende’s Neverending Story; the wearer of the amulet is granted the gift of intuition. This name is certainly apt; the quartet intuitively brings collective musical ideas to fruition. Maybe not surprising, as they have been playing together in their original line-up for twenty nine years; I found their interpretation of Beethoven’s quartets to be both mature and utterly convincing.

In the Auryn’s hands the music sang and danced, shifting effortlessly from one mood to the next. The virtuosic passage from the Allegro of Beethoven’s Quartet in E flat major was executed by the first violinist Matthais Lingenfelder with ease, and the harp-like pizzicatos resonated delightfully. It was great to have the cellist at the heart of the ensemble supporting the upper voices- a seating plan I feel should be employed more frequently.

For the opening of the String Quartet in C sharp minorm Lingenfelder’s low register was stunningly beautiful . It was a performance full of dramatic contrasts. The intonation, which seemed slightly dodgy in the first half, was much better after the interval: that could either have been caused by a shortage of warm up time for the players and instruments in these cold weather conditions, or by a prioritisation of the monumental Quartet in C Sharp Minor over the shorter works in rehearsal time.

A riveting performance, the Auryns could not escape without playing an encore: a beautifully phrased Largo Assai from Haydn’s Quartet No. 59 in G minor. I will certainly be listening to their CDs of Beethoven’s Quartets, which have recently been released by the Tacet Label. Their Wigmore Hall cycle will be resumed and completed in April.

Anna Michel

Haydn String Quartets Op. 1 & Brahms Complete String Quartets auryn

Auryn Quartet

Tacet 167 & 155

The Auryn is a major recording quartet, with numerous volumes for Tacet, including 14 of Haydn, and more to come.

They play as one, with little evidence of individual thinking, and interpersonal tensions long subsumed into a four-in-one unity of perfect tone and ensemble - they are perhaps at their best in the studio? (In some reviews of their Wigmore Hall Beethoven series there were reservations about lack of spontaneity; it is to be resumed in April.)

The Op 1 1-6 (as put together by publishers) are all in 5 movements, each with an expressive central Adagio (except for No 3, which has it first).

Don't be put off by this ghastly over-printed cover image; these are immaculate recordings of Haydn's early Divertimenti, with gorgeous melodic flights from the leader and, as yet, discreet accompaniments from his three colleagues, who will only become fully emancipated several volumes later.

The Auryn's double disc of Brahms is equally satisfying, the op 51/2 giving us particular pleasure, gaining from the avoidance of over-heating and too emphatic intensity.

Once again, though, one has to deplore the gimmicky artwork of Zancker & Wunderlich...

Peter Grahame Woolf

Although the Auryn Quartet has DVD-Audios in their discograhy, there are no DVD-Vs yet, but you can see them playing Schubert in a big concert on YouTube.