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  • Anthony Friend

"Poise and style" ***** The Arts Desk (Hill Quartet 15 September)

Updated: Sep 18, 2020

"Their poise and style were those of a well established team... I've not heard a more fluid and refined interpretation" The Arts Desk

Trees in the shape of the London planes surrounding Battersea Park Bandstand added to the healing which has been constant through the four chamber music concerts there these past few weeks. The last, on Tuesday evening, was as individual as the others had been, and distinctive in its weather too – the warmest Indian summer evening. The players of the Hill Quartet were the youngest, too holders of the Royal Academy of Music's Chamber Music Fellowship and mentored by John Myerscough, cellist of the Doric Quartet which launched this festival, but only just, ceding a few years to the previous concert’s Solem Quartet. Their poise and style were those of a well-established team, even though the wonderful second violinist, David Lopez, has only just joined (pictured above and below by William Marsey, the quartet in the bandstand: Bridget O'Donnell, Lopez, Julia Doukakis and Ben Michaels).

Was it just coincidence that the gaggle of ring-necked parakeets squawked their loudest during the glissandoing trio of Haydn’s E flat major quartet, Op. 64 No. 6, with its high-pitched bird notes on return? This time planes were not flying overhead to smother the outer-section serenity of a Haydn slow movement, as they had in the Solems’ concert, and that would have been a problem given the half-lights and mystical shimmers of the Ravel Quartet. I’ve not heard a more fluid and refined interpretation; if you strained to catch some of the subtleties so much the better. It just shows that if you give an audience the licence to do what they want and the performance is first-rate, they’ll listen; in none of the four recitals could there be the slightest irritation with near(est) neighbours, as there was at the Wigmore – but that at least was a reminder of the live experience. Another shout-out to clarinettist Anthony Friend for seeing the bandstand as a plausible venue, for his links with Wandsworth Council (out in force on the last night, along with the Mayor) and fundraisers. It points the way to a brilliant spring and summer season in 2021, regardless of how the pandemic places us. May other bandstands in town be used in similar ways; there’s no lovelier way of enjoying chamber music. David Nice, The Arts Desk, 17 September 2020

Original article here.

Images by William Marsey.

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