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Strad Magazine

Jerusalem Quartet : Thrilling

by Joanne Talbot

If Haydn himself were able to listen to his celebration this year, he would undoubtedly be thrilled with the Jerusalem Quartet`s readings of his music. This ensemble performs as one mind, yet within its unity of purpose the individual strands are allowed to weave their way into the narrative.

The players judiciously selected works reflecting different stages in Haydn`s life, beginning with Op.20 no.5, where the harmonic rhythms were acutely depicted and the clarity of textures in the fugal Finale breathtaking. In the "Bird" quartet Op.33 no.3 they inspired wit - one almost felt one could hear Haydn chuckling to himself - carefully illustrating the subtle working of the misic`s motives.

The almost operatic gestures of the "Rider" Quartet in G minor Op.74 no.3 were virtuosically delivered, and a Schubertian depth graced the work`s Adagio, where the homophonic progressions were mapped out with great harmonic perception. A fantastic awareness of dynamics gradations and phrase characterisation ignited their interpretation of the Quartet in G major Op.77 no.1.

Superlatives are inadequate in describing just how fine this playing was from one of the young, yet great quartets of our time.

May 1, 2009

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