Mozartfest: Nash Ensemble
Concentrated focus, attention to musical detail, bonded together by intense communication and a sense of shared intimacy – qualities we have come to expect from these virtuoso players, whose visual impact is almost as striking as the quality of their sound. And the familiar Tchaikovsky Andante cantabile – which they will have played many times – was as fresh and appealing as ever, an ideal opening to Mozartfest 2012.
The Mozart String Quintet in C Major, with a second viola, written quite late, has a lively opening Allegro, leading into a Minuet and Trio and then a serenely composed Andante, with a tranquil dialogue between viola and violin, given beautifully balanced expression.
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The Allegro finale, full of life and movement, whisked the work to its vigorous conclusion. The second of Beethoven's three Rasumovsky quartets is a classic of its kind. The opening Allegro fizzes with energy, followed by an extended Molto Adagio, tranquil and imperturbable.
Beethoven – perhaps rather unusually in mellow mood. The slightly syncopated Allegretto, busy and animated, leads into the final Presto, bursting with passion, vitality and unstoppable momentum. Wonderfully gifted players making music of superlative excellence, every phrase scrupulously observed, no dynamic out of place, changes of tempo exemplary, all recreated with deceptive ease. Follow that? And we shall.
Peter Lloyd Williams