After a hectic weekend of chamber music from the SCO, Edinburgh concert goers return to the Queen’s Hall tonight to hear the Castalian Quartet, a very fine young quartet, who are making a name for themselves internationally. What with the Edinburgh Quartet playing a University concert tomorrow, Edinburgh could be said to be having a glut of chamber music at the moment. Yet, the Queen’s Hall is well filled, not least because this concert is part of the New Town Concerts Society, which has a strong subscription base.
The concert begins with Haydn’s String Quartet Op. 76 No. 2 in D minor, written in 1797, commonly known as “The Fifths” because of the musical pattern of the first movement. It is a lively late quartet, which incorporates gypsy music, and tradition has it, a donkey braying outside Haydn’s studio!
It continues with Schumann’s String Quartet Op. 41 No. 3 in A major, written in 1842 for his love, Clara Schumann, which displays all Schumann’s skill as as a chamber music composer. It is superbly played by the young musicians of the Castalian Quartet.
The concert concludes after the interval with Brahms’ String Quintet in F, Op. 88, with the addition of viola player, Simon Rowland-Jones, a founder of the famous Chilingirian Quartet. It is interesting to watch an “outsider” viola player interacting with the quartet, who, clearly used to each other, require a little more eye contact with the visiting player.
Overall, this is a very good concert, and it is warmly received by a big Queen’s Hall audience. Truly, Edinburgh is blessed with a surfeit of good music!