REVIEW: Van Kuijk Quartet at the Chichester Chamber Concerts series

Van Kuijk
Van Kuijk

Review by Raymond Greenlees

The young French quartet Van Kuijk gave a most enjoyable concert in the Assembly Room, Chichester on 23 January to a packed audience. It was a well-balanced programme including Mozart’s Divertimento K128, Beethoven’s Op.59 No.3, and Schumann’s Op.41.No.3

The Mozart Divertimento opened the concert with effervescence and energy, but also the players paid meticulous attention to the dynamic range with some expressive pianissimos and delicate phrasing. Throughout, there was a good balance between individual players, and we were spared the dominance of the first violin, which one hears far too often in other ensembles.

The Beethoven Op.59 No.3 benefitted from the light touch of the Van Kuijk. There was a welcome transparency and clarity in their interpretation and each player could be heard, even in the more complex passages. This was a refreshing contrast to the overdose of too much gravitas in traditional performances. We had clarity too even in the more rumbustious passages, such as the wild fugal passages in the final Allegro molto.

The Schumann quartet Op.41 No.3 which ended the concert gave free reign to the romantic aspirations of this young Quartet. They achieved the tenderness of the opening and the later theme was given a strong rendering by the cellist. Above all, the players conveyed the lyrical nature of Schumann in full song, particularly in the Adagio movement. Perhaps they could have used more rubato to give each player more freedom of expression in each of their key thematic statements. However, the quality of the ensemble playing never wavered in its rhythmic intensity and vigour which was particularly evident in the final Allegro molto vivace.

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