Review: Quartet opens Music in the Round with strong start

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Benyounes String Quartet, Leamington Music January 18

Adopting the Algerian family name of lead violinist Zara, the Benyounes String Quartet emerged in 2007 to begin a very successful career.

With the original foursome intact, Benyounes became Park Lane Group Young Artists, representing Music in the Round with concerts all over the country.

Playing Haydn, Mendelssohn and Brahms, Benyounes created the interval talking point at the start of their Tost contribution – Haydn’s Opus 54 No 2!

Just how long should the unexpected silences be in the opening bars of the vivace? Too long or just right?

Viola player,Tetsummi Nagata, confirmed they change their approach every time – we were on the receiving end of the long silences.

An enchantingly, lyrical vivace gave way to a dark mysterious adagio-well paced as the intensity demands.

Zara Benyounes led with a dreamy top line in the opening adagio and directed the clever changes of pace in the canzonetta (a lyrical replacement of the scherzo).

The slow movement, andante, is one of Mendelssohn’s most memorable and he succeeds in bringing back the early adagio in the last movement, in a well structured performance.

Echoes of the symphonic form bookend the quartet – all very delicately played with strong cello contributions from Kim Vaughan.

This new season of Music in the Round has started well. It is pleasing to record the presence of four under tens in the audience!

Rating 9/10

By Clive Peacock