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Beethoven Quartets
 no.6 in B-flat major, op.18 no.6
 no.11 in F minor, op.95, ‘Quartett Serioso’
 no.12 in E-flat major, op.127

Belcea Quartet
Corina Belcea, Axel Schacher (violins)
Krzysztof Chorzelski (viola)
Antoine Lederlin (violoncello)

Wigmore Hall 1st December 2011

An all-Beethoven programme kept a packed audience at the Wigmore Hall spellbound, a testimony to both Beethoven’s genius and the skill of the Belcea quartet.

Despite a new violinist since their Schubert recording (Axel Schacher joined the quartet in June 2011) the Belcea quartet is in top form.  The unity of interpretation created by four different players is impressive; capturing the shifting and, at times, turbulent moods portrayed in Beethoven’s quartets beautifully.   The players exploit their mastery of bow control, using it to shape phrases and create different timbres. Never does the music sound forced; the phrases always flow organically.

Elegance and light were exemplified in the early B-flat major quartet; perfectly matching motifs passed between the two violinists. There were some lovely hushed moments in the minor passages where the timbre changed and barely any vibrato was used.  The quartet ‘Serioso’ was suitably intense with plenty of rhythmic drive, the Belceas revelling in its unsettling off beats. For me the most memorable moment came in the second movement of the Eb quartet; absolutely magical in its expansive warmth.

Do not miss the opportunity to hear another of the Belcea quartet’s Beethoven cycle performances. They will be returning to Wigmore Hall on the twenty-first of January 2012. 

Anna Michel

Note: The Belceas will be recording the Beethoven cycle at Aldeburgh for Zig-Zag Territoires PGW